One serving of fried chicken a day linked to 13% higher risk of death, study finds

One or more serving of fried chicken a day was linked to a 13% higher risk of death from any cause.

(CNN)A regular serving of fried chicken or fish is associated with a higher risk of death from any cause except cancer, according to a new study done in postmenopausal women in the United States.

Women who enjoyed fried chicken once or more per day had a 13% higher risk of death from any cause compared with women who did not eat any fried food, according to the study, published Wednesday in the medical journal BMJ.
Women eating a daily portion of fried fish or shellfish saw a 7% greater risk of death.
    The authors highlight that limiting the consumption of fried foods, in particular fried chicken and fish, could therefore be good for public health.
      "We know fried food consumption is something very common in the United States and also around the world. Unfortunately, we know very little about long-term health effect of fried food consumption," explained the study's lead author, Wei Bao, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa.
      The observational study is the first in the United States, to Bao's knowledge, to look at the relationship between fried food consumption and mortality. However, previous research has shown links between higher consumption of fried foods and an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
      A 2017 study found that people who eat fried potatoes two or more times a week double their risk of an early death compared with those who avoid them.

        Turning 'a good thing into a harmful thing'

        Bao's team looked at the food habits of almost 107,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79 from 40 clinics across the United States between 1993 and 1998. They were followed up for an average of 18 years.
        When they enrolled in the study, the women completed a food frequency questionnaire asking about consumption and portion size of 122 food items, including fried chicken and fish, as well as french fries, tortillas and tacos.
        Other factors related to mortality, such as education level, income, total energy consumption and overall diet quality, were taken into account in the team's calculations.
        Women eating one or more servings of fried food a day had an 8% higher risk of death from all causes as well as heart-related death compared with those who did not eat fried food. However, this finding was not statistically significant, the study added.
        More specifically, eating fried chicken had a 13% greater risk of death and 12% increased risk of a heart-related death. For fried fish, the rise in risk of death and heart-related death was 7% and 13%, respectively.
        But there was no link between total or specific fried food consumption and cancer deaths, the study found.
        Fried food's link to health outcomes is the combined effect from the food itself and the frying process, Bao explained.
        Fish can be helpful for cardiovascular diseases, so he expected a lower association between fried fish and mortality than the one seen in the study. "If you fry fish, it may turn a good thing into a harmful thing.
        "Although there is an increased risk of eating fried food in terms of mortality, the risk is lower with low frequency," Bao added.
        Bao thinks the study can be applied to American men, too. Previous studies into health effects of fried foods didn't show gender differences, he added.
        The rise in risk could be down to a number of reasons, according to the study. One possibility is that these foods could be ultraprocessed, according to the authors, meaning they may be high in sodium, which could contribute to a higher risk of mortality.