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For the record

"Is fried food bad for you?" Image

"Is fried food bad for you?"

Articles published on 25th January 2012, in the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and The Sun appeared to suggest that the link between fried food and heart disease is only dependent on what type of oil is used for frying. For example, the article in the Daily Mail stated that “a fry-up doesn’t increase the risk of heart disease or early death, depending on the type of oil used.” Articles referred to a new study published in the BMJ. The study looked at the association between consumption of fried foods and coronary heart disease in Spain. Here two dieticians explain why articles reporting on this study should be taken with caution.

Victoria Taylor, Senior Heart Health Dietician at the British Heart Foundation

“Before we all reach for the frying pan it’s important to remember that this was a study of a Mediterranean diet, rather than British fish and chips. Our diet in the UK will differ from Spain, so we cannot say that this result would be the same for us too.” 

“Regardless of the cooking methods used, consuming foods with high fat content means a high calorie intake. This can lead to weight gain and obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease. A well-balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and veg and only a small amount of high fat foods, is best for a healthy heart.”

Helen Bond, spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association

“A Mediterranean diet has long been known to be good for the heart and, as dietitians, we’re always trying to get people to adapt to a Mediterranean style of eating.”

“Fried foods cooked in sunflower or olive oil tend to be heart healthier but if people in Britain are getting into the takeaway culture and eating large amounts of saturated fats, then it will have a big effect on their cholesterol levels. It is good to have a certain amount of fat but it shouldn’t be the backbone of our diets.”

Document type: For The Record

Published: 25 January 2012

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