When people normally think about fried foods, they think of food that is delicious, satisfying, and also dangerous to one's health. In a manner of speaking, fried foods are generally unhealthy. They contain larger amounts of fat and are often linked to cardiovascular disease and unhealthy arteries.
While fats like saturated and trans fats are unhealthy and will elevate cholesterol as well as raise the risk of heart disease, not all oils and fats are bad for health.
In a recent study released by the BMJ, a British medical journal, researchers found that foods fried in olive or sunflower oil were not directly correlated to heart disease. The study took place in Spain, a country where the majority of fried foods were fried in sunflower or olive oil, which is not commonly used in restaurants that prepare fried food in the U.S.
Researchers ensured that the fried food intake was from food that had been immersed in oil rather than meals that had been sautéed or cooked in a small amount of oil. While fried foods tend to be dangerous because they absorb the oil, the study did not find that the oils had caused cardiovascular disease among the participants.
One of the primary reasons why there was not a negative health effect was that sunflower and olive oil are high in unsaturated fats. These fats are much easier to break down and also have health benefits in moderation. While surprised by the study, researchers did caution moderation.
Eating fried foods every day even with healthier oil sources would probably cause an excess of calories and these foods should probably be enjoyed less frequently. However, for those with high cholesterol or people who are concerned about cardiovascular disease, eating foods fried in sunflower and olive oils have not been found to pose a health risk.
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