How would you like your death: Regular, or extra early?
A new study links regular fried chicken consumption – at least one serving a week – to a 13 percent increased risk of premature death, at least among older women.
Researchers looked at nearly 107,000 postmenopausal women who tracked their diets in the 1990s for a nationwide study that followed them until 2017. But a fatal link to fried chicken may exist for other groups, too.
“We didn’t have any reason why the effects may differ by age, or even by gender,” Dr. Wei Bao, a University of Iowa epidemiologist who co-authored the study, told Time.
“I would suspect the association may be similar among younger women or even among men,” he added.
You knew fried chicken wasn’t exactly healthy. But, as Bao told the magazine, his study is one of the first to actually look at how fried foods affect deaths over time.
For example, the study found that older women with weekly fried chicken habits had a 12 percent higher chance of dying from a heart-related death.
A fish sandwich was hardly better: Those who ate fried fish weekly had a 7 percent higher risk of death overall but a 13 percent higher risk of heart-related death.
Americans love fried foods: About a third of us eat fast food on any given day, the Centers for Disease Control found, inhaling buckets of fried chicken, french fries and crispy fish.
The study is not without limits, authors note. Researchers did account for age, race, education and several lifestyle differences. But correlation is not causation, and other factors may have played a role.
One such factor is the type of oil used for frying: The authors point to a previous study in Spain showing no link between fried food consumption and mortality. But not all food is fried equally, the authors note:
“For example, in the US, fried foods are eaten more often away from home (eg, in fast food restaurants) than at home; away from home, fried foods are usually deep fried in corn oil, which is the most common frying medium.”
In Spain, fried foods are often made at home using olive oil, the study says. Some research suggests that oil healthier.
One golden-fried lining for fried food fans: “Total or individual fried food consumption was not generally associated with cancer mortality,” the authors wrote.
The study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed medical journal The BMJ.
Josh Hafner, USA TODAY
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