Researchers in Spain have some good news for people who enjoy eating fried food: Cooking in olive or sunflower oil is not linked to heart disease or premature death.
Because heart disease risk factors — such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity — have been linked to eating fried foods, the study authors decided to investigate the association.
For the study, the researchers examined the cooking habits and health of nearly 41,000 adults, aged 29 to 69, who did not have heart disease at the start of the 11-year study. The participants were split into four groups depending on how much fried food they consumed.
The study authors pointed out that because their research was conducted in Spain, where olive and sunflower oil are used for cooking, the findings may not apply in other countries where other types of oil are more commonly used. For example, when food is fried in solid and re-used oils (as in the Western diet), it absorbs the fat of the oils, which increases the calories of the food.
There were 606 heart disease-related events and 1,134 deaths during the study follow-up period, according to the report published in the Jan. 24 online edition of the BMJ.
“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,” according to the research team, led by Pilar Guallar-Castillon from Autonomous University of Madrid.
In an accompanying editorial, Michael Leitzmann, from the University of Regensburg in Germany, wrote that the findings challenge the belief that “frying food is generally bad for the heart.”
However, he added that this “does not mean that frequent meals of fish and chips will have no health consequences.” Specific aspects of frying food, such as the type of oil used, are important, Leitzmann noted.
Weight loss takes a lot of personal accountability — you have to make yourself exercise, watch what you eat, and limit your portions. But according to a new survey of 3,000 UK women, women constantly overstate how responsible they are — about 474 times a year, or 9 times per week.
In a survey conducted by Timex, (who’s releasing a new body-monitoring device for dieters) women fessed up to lying to themselves and others more than once a day about their less-than-perfect eating habits.
The single most popular lie? “It was only a small portion.”
The foods that spurred women to lie the most included desserts, cheese, bread, fries and burgers, wine, and beer, the survey found. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed said they try their best to eat well, but admitted to slipping up occasionally. More than 40 percent lied to others about their healthy habits, simply to give off the impression that they are healthier than they really are.
Here, the top 10 lies women tell about their diets:
1. It was only a small portion.
2. I’ll have a big lunch, so I won’t eat much after this.
3. I treat myself only once in a while.
4. I always eat my five fruits and vegetables a day.
5. I didn’t touch any of the biscuits.
6. I had only one glass.
7. I didn’t eat the last one.
8. I won’t eat again today after this.
9. I was too busy to have lunch.
10. I might as well polish them off now, or they’ll go bad.
If you’ve told one (or more) of these lies today, try these no-fail ways to stay accountable:
Use your scale. A national survey of 4,345 adults found that those who weighed themselves daily were more likely to lose weight and keep it off than those who inconsistently weighed themselves.
Track calories. If you need meal-by-meal accountability, monitor your calories consumed and burned on your computer and on your smartphone with a system such as Everyday Health’s My Calorie Counter.
Find a diet buddy. Partner up with a friend who has similar weight-loss goals, and every time you slip up, be honest with your buddy — and yourself.