Breeze-Courier | Taylorville, IL
weather sponsored by

The Weather Network
Advanced Search
search sponsored by


home : columns : ask the doctors June 26, 2019

3/6/2019 7:58:00 AM
Study links fried foods to overall mortality

Dear Doctor: Our mom, who's running for president of the food police, just heard about a study that says any amount of fried food is basically death on a fork. Now my brothers and I are afraid we'll never see another french fry. Please. She's fallen for a conspiracy theory, right?

Dear Reader: You may be too young to know this, but the debate about fried foods has been raging for decades. For many of us, that means fried chicken and fish, fried seafood, potato or corn chips, doughnuts and french fries, to name just a few. Frying makes food deliciously rich and crispy, and each culture throughout the world has its own specialties that rely on the technique. And as anyone who has walked the midway of a state or county fair knows, pretty much anything (fried Oreos, fried ice cream, fried butter) is fair game for the fryer.

Unfortunately, although we humans love fried foods, they don't return the favor. Depending on the specific study, fried foods have been linked to cardiovascular disease, elevated blood pressure, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

Now the results of research published in January in the British Medical Journal have linked the consumption of fried foods to overall mortality, which means death from any cause. Researchers used 20 years of health data from about 106,000 women who were taking part in the Women's Health Initiative, a long-term national health study.

For this particular research, done at the University of Iowa's College of Public Health, scientists drew from dietary questionnaires filled out by women aged between 50 and 79. The upshot was that those who ate a single serving of fried food per day had an 8 percent higher chance of dying early as compared to those who reported that they ate no fried food. Interestingly, while the study found a correlation between fried food consumption and heart disease, it didn't find a connection to cancer.

That said, the study has limitations. The dietary information was self-reported. So were details about smoking status, exercise habits, alcohol and drug use, and diagnoses of cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes, each of which can have a bearing on outcomes.

Whether the fried foods were home-cooked or commercially prepared also wasn't known. That's important because, unlike steaming, boiling, baking or broiling, frying is a complex cooking process. Not only does it change the food, the high heat that frying requires also alters the cooking medium itself. Commercial establishments often use oils that are high in omega-6 fats and saturated fats, none of which are part of a healthful diet. They also reuse their cooking oil, which breaks down in high heat to form unhealthful oxidation products that wind up in the food.

A similar study done in Spain, where frying took place with mainly olive or sunflower oil, did not find the same correlation between fried foods and coronary heart disease and death.

Still, there's no getting around that fact that fried foods are significantly higher in fat, calories and often salt than foods cooked by other methods. Because fried foods are so crunchy and tasty, it's easy to overeat. Our feeling is that rather than a regular dietary staple, fried foods should be an occasional treat.

Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, is an internist and associate professor of medicine at UCLA Health. Elizabeth Ko, M.D., is an internist and assistant professor of medicine at UCLA Health. Send your questions to, or write: Ask the Doctors, c/o UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations, 10880 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1450, Los Angeles, CA, 90024. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.

Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

If you are looking for the SPEAK OUT submission form, you can find it by clicking here: Speak Out Form

Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

NOTE: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address will not be displayed or shared.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Trinity Dodge Fixed
Dr Paul The Dentist
NewsWebPagesOpinionPeopleObituariesAg & BusinessSportsContact UsLife
Subscriptions | Username & Password Reminder | Change Password | Life

Breeze-Courier & Printing | 212 S Main St. Taylorville, IL 62568 | (217) 824-2233 |

© Copyright 2014 Breeze-Courier & Printing. All Rights Reserved.
Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Breeze-Courier & Printing.

Software © 1998-2019 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved