The risk of heart disease or early death does not increase by frying food in olive or sunflower oil, according to researchers in Spain.
The study, which was conducted over an 11-year period, involved more than 40,000 adults aged between 29 and 69 who did not have heart disease when the trial began.
The results contradicted the idea that frying food is generally bad for the heart but experts were careful to warn that this does not mean eating fried foods frequently has no health consequences.
For the purpose of the study, which questioned the subjects on their eating habits during a typical week, fried foods included those that were deep fried or pan fried and could be battered, crumbed or sauteed.
During the period of the study there were just over 600 “coronary heart disease events” and just over 1,100 people died from any cause.
Analysis of the results, published online in the British Medical Journal, showed no differences between four different groups of people - set up according to how much they ate foods fried in olive oil or sunflower oil - in the risk of heart disease or dying. There was also no variation between the use of olive oil or sunflower oil.
- Guallar-Castillón P, et al. Consumption of fried foods and risk of coronary heart disease: Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. BMJ 2011; Advance online publication.