Everybody loves a fried treat, but cooking at high temperatures, such as frying or roasting, can increase your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), says a new research study.

High-temperature cooking creates byproducts called neo-formed contaminants (NFCs), include heart-harming substances like trans-fatty acids that are linked to a wide range of conditions, including high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The researchers found that NFCs proliferate when foods are cooked at high temperatures, and specifically when foods are cooked in oil at elevated temperatures, according to the new study appearing in Nutrition.

Cuisine, cooking method a key risk factor

A research team led by Raj Bhopal at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland noted that South Asian populations in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have higher rates of CHD than others groups.

“Known risk factors do not fully explain the high prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) among South Asians,” note the researchers. The researchers focused on dietary habits and created a compelling argument that specific methods of cooking have a direct impact on heart health.

“South Asian’s cuisine is dominated by frying and roasting techniques that use high temperatures,” explain the researchers. That makes trans fats highly prevalent in their daily diet.

The researchers compared commonly consumed foods in South Asia with foods eaten in China, which are often boiled, braised or steamed. Overall, they found significantly lower rates of CHD among the Chinese population than the other Asian countries they studied.

The researchers surmise that the elevated incidence of CHD among South Asians is at least “partly attributable to high-heat treated foods,” and they encourage further study on the topic.

“It is exciting because if our findings are proven to be correct, we could make a real impact on rates of heart disease within a generation,” they add.

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