The Effect of Using Olive and Sunflower Oils in Fried Foods

The Effect of Using Olive and Sunflower Oils in Fried Foods

How true is the statement that the type of oil we use for frying foods is linked to our risk of heart disease and even death?

The Research Study

A research study in Spain gives good news to people who enjoy eating a lot of fried foods. Use olive oil or sunflower in cooking and you will reduce your risk of heart disease and death.

The researchers looked into the connection of the risk factors of heart disease, such as obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, to eating fried foods.

The 11-year study involved the participation of 41,000 adults with ages 29 to 69 years old. The researchers took note of the cooking habits and monitored the health of the participants, who were divided into four groups according to the quantity of fried foods they consumed.

The results of this study, which was conducted in Spain, may not apply to other countries because of certain differences. For example, people in Spain generally use olive oil and sunflower oil for cooking. In Western countries, people more commonly use solid oil for frying. Sometimes, people even use used oils for frying, which result in having more fats absorbed by the food, thus increasing its calorie and fat content.

The Findings

For the duration of the study, the records showed 1,134 deaths and 606 cases related to heart disease.

No Correlation

The research study leader, Pilar Guallar Castillon of the Autonomous University of Madrid, stated that there was no significant correlation found between the consumption of fried foods by the participants and the incidence of heart disease or death. She also mentioned that this finding is specific to Spain, which is a Mediterranean country, where people most commonly use olive oil and sunflower oil for frying foods. That is the observation despite the high consumption of fried foods by the population both at home and in commercial food establishments.


Michael Leitzmann from Germany’s University of Regensburg made a comment regarding this finding. He said that it is a challenge to the common belief that “fried foods is not healthy for the heart.” But, he added that this finding is not an excuse to eat fish and chips more frequently, because there are health consequences. Choose the type of cooking oil you use in frying. It plays a big role on keeping you and your family heart healthy.

Photo credits: Olive oil by the U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr, CC by 2.0

Categories: Health

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