For this study, scientists analyzed 19 previously published studies. They combined data from 17 studies involving more than 560,000 people with nearly 37,000 major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack or stroke.
The researchers also used data from six studies, conducted on more than 750,000 participants, with nearly 86,000 deaths over an average period of 10 years.
According to the research findings, compared to subjects whose weekly diet was the poorest in fried foods, people who consumed the highest amount had a 28% increased risk of suffering major cardiovascular events. At the same time, the latter had a 22% higher risk of heart disease and a 37% higher risk of heart failure.
These risks increased substantially by 3%, 2% and 12%, respectively, with each additional weekly serving of about 110 grams, as noted by Pei Qin of the Center for Medical Sciences at Shenzhen University and colleagues.
The study was published Tuesday in the scientific journal Heart.
It is unclear how fried foods may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but more explanations are possible, the study’s authors said in a statement. Fried foods contain so-called trans, harmful fatty acids from hydrogenated vegetable oils often used in cooking. At the same time, frying stimulates the production of secondary chemicals, which can trigger an inflammatory response in the body.
In addition, high-salt foods, such as fried chicken and french fries, are often served with sugary drinks, especially in fast-food restaurants, the researchers noted.