The study of postmenopausal American women revealed that those who ate fried chicken once a day had a 13% higher risk of death from all causes, except for cancer, compared to those women who did not eat fried chicken once a day.
- One or more servings of fried fish or shellfish a day was linked to a seven per cent higher risk of death from any cause and a 13 per cent higher risk of heart-related death compared with no fried food. Eating fried chicken every day increased the risk of death by 13 per cent and the risk of heart-related death by 12 per cent.
However, CNN noted that the study has its limitations after interviewing a number of experts on the matter.
It's no secret that fried food isn't good for you. The strength of the association may be because people simply consume more fried chicken or fish, Bao says, or because of differences in how those foods are prepared.
"We didn't have any reason why the effects may differ by age, or even by gender", Dr. Wei Bao, a University of Iowa epidemiologist who co-authored the study, told Time.
"We know fried food consumption is something very common in the United States and also around the world".
Women who enrolled in Bao's study completed a food frequency questionnaire asking about consumption and portion size of 122 food items, including fried chicken and fish, as well as french fries, tortillas and tacos.
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Surprisingly, the researchers did not find a link between specific fried food and cancer.
Obesity probably plays a part in the increased risk of death, he said. This matters, Bao explained, because if people fry food at home, they are less likely to reuse oil, which creates more harmful products in the oil that are absorbed into the food.
The findings, published in The BMJ, showed that after taking into account other potentially influential factors such as lifestyle and overall diet quality, regularly eating fried foods was associated with a higher risk of death from any cause, and, in particular with heart-related death.
A 2017 study found that people who eat fried potatoes two or more times a week double their risk of an early death compared with those who avoid them.
"I would suspect the association may be similar among younger women or even among men", he said. For example, the type of oil used for frying, as some are worse for you than others.
However, they add that "we have identified a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality that is readily modifiable by lifestyle" and conclude that "reducing the consumption of fried foods, especially fried chicken and fried fish/shellfish, may have clinically meaningful impact across the public health spectrum".