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Fried Food and Health

From a velvety seat at a fancy restaurant, cheese curds look less like fried oil and more like a delicious delicacy. Fried foods have become one of America’s greatest obsessions, it is of rational importance that we understand their influence on our health.

If you frequently consume fried food, it is likely that you have experienced indigestion as a result. One of the most harmful impacts of eating fried foods is that it causes inflammation throughout the body.

Most fried foods are cooked in oils that are highly processed and contain additives, chemicals, and pesticides. Throughout the frying process, vegetable oils endure many chemical reactions which result in oil degradation. Because the food absorbs the oil, its degradation can have an adverse impact on the final properties of the food.

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Fried Food and Health

A study conducted by Cancer Prevention Research demonstrated that when animal subjects were fed frying oil they experienced increased colonic inflammation, worsened leaky gut, proliferated tumor growth, and the expansion of bacteria or toxic bacterial products into the bloodstream.

Research conducted at Harvard School of Public Health and Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public health (conducted on more than 100,000 men and women over 25 years) found that people who ate fried food just once a week had a greater risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Of course, the risk grew with the increase of fried food consumed. Subjects who consumed fried food 4-6 times a week had a 39% increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The greatest risk, however, is consuming fried foods away from home. This poses the risk of stale oil, as restaurants reuse the oil until they decide it needs to be changed. Each reuse causes the oil to become more degraded, leading to more being absorbed into the food, which contributes to weight gain as well as high cholesterol and blood pressure.

Fried Food and Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oils, which are commonly used to deep fry foods, are quite damaging to human health for a variety of reasons. For one, when they are heated it causes the fatty acids within them to oxidize and produce free radicals. Free radicals are electrons which play a strong role in nearly every known disease. When food is cooked in vegetable oil, it saturates them in these free radicals and can have a detrimental impact on every cell in your body, as well as create toxic byproducts.

The byproducts produced by cooking in vegetable oils include Acrolein, HNE, and MDA. Acrolein is the same toxin found in cigarette smoke that leads to lung damage, it is a biocide which means it kills all life. HNE and MDA are cytotoxic and mutagenic, meaning they have the ability to not only kill cells but also alter DNA. Vegetable oils contribute to many conditions including Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, leaky gut, autoimmune disorders, autism, and insulin resistance.

How to Reduce or Improve Fried Food Intake

But fried food is just so good, how could we ever completely cut it out of our diets? Fried food may never be considered a nutritious meal. However, there are ways to enjoy it while reducing your risk of negative consequences.

  • Avoid consuming fried food daily. Refrain from having it more than once or twice a week.
  • Portions are important. If you choose to eat fried food, try not to consume a larger portion than what can fit in the palm of your hand.
  • While fried foods are the number one cause of acid reflux, avoid eating them before you’ve had a nutritious meal. Instead, eat protein, veggies, and whole grains before indulging in fried foods.
  • When eating fried foods at home, do not reuse the oil. Instead, put it in a container to cool and throw it away. Avoid vegetable and seed oils and instead focus on healthier fats like tallow, suet, lard, ghee or avocado.
  • To reduce your fried food intake, try changing up cooking styles to make your meals more interesting. Broiling, baking, and grilling are tasty alternatives to frying.

Do you have habits like donuts for breakfast, fried chicken for lunch and deep fried mozzarella sticks before dinner? Everywhere you go there are temptations to consume fried foods.

It is difficult in today’s society to battle the desire to consume what we know is unhealthy for us. The proliferation of processed food gives us poor nutrition choices everywhere. Making better choices is made more difficult since most of us have been indulging in fried foods since we were young.

Things to Consider

Consuming fried food in questionable oils is not to be taken lightly. It's not very likely that I can so easily convince everyone to quit eating fried foods. But, this article is to simply spread awareness. I hope this may help you with a healthier lifestyle by making small changes.

With little effort, you can be on the path to increased cognitive function, improved heart health, and the overall enhancement of your wellbeing.