Food fried in olive or sunflower oil is not linked to heart disease or premature death, but the same is not true of solid or reused oils.
While eating lots of fried food can increase some heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity, a link between fried food and heart disease has not been fully investigated.
So the study authors, led by Pilar Guallar-Castillón professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain, surveyed the cooking methods of 40,757 adults aged 29 to 69 years over an 11-year period. None of them had heart disease when the study began, the journal bmj.com reports.
Trained interviewers asked participants about their diet and cooking methods. Fried food was defined as food for which frying was the only cooking method used. Questions were also asked about whether food was fried, battered, crumbed or sautéed, according to an Autonomous statement.
The participants' diet was divided into ranges of fried food consumption, the first quarter related to the lowest amount of fried food consumed and the fourth indicated the highest amount. During the follow-up there were 606 events linked to heart disease and 1,134 deaths.
The authors conclude "In a Mediterranean country where olive and sunflower oils are the most commonly used fats for frying, and where large amounts of fried foods are consumed both at and away from home, no association was observed between fried food consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease or death."