If you have clients who can’t let go of their deep fryers, you can present them with this sobering health news. Heart published a review of 17 different studies involving more than 560,000 people who collectively suffered 37,000 heart attacks and strokes during 10 years of follow-up. The review found that—compared with those who ate the lowest amount of fried food per week—those who ate the most had

  • a 28% greater risk of a major heart attack or stroke,
  • a 22% higher risk of heart disease and
  • a 37% higher risk of heart failure.

Each additional weekly serving of 114 grams (4 ounces, about 1/2 cup) of fried foods increased the risk for heart attack and stroke by 3%, heart disease by 2% and heart failure by 12%. A typical medium serving of fast-food French fries is roughly 117 g.

When food is fried, it absorbs a good amount of fat from the frying oil, increasing calories. High-temperature cooking like frying may also create pro-inflammatory compounds like advanced glycation end products. And deep-fried foods may wedge out more nutritious options from the diet, reducing consumption of heart-protective nutrients and antioxidants.

While this meta-analysis of studies showed only an association between fried foods and cardiovascular risk, not cause and effect, it certainly makes a platter of chicken nuggets less appetizing.

See also: Heart Disease Prevention Program Improves Outcomes