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Fried foods have long been linked to health problems, but research now shows eating fried food daily could lead to an early death. Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says it's the oils that are used to fry foods, more than the foods themselves, that appear to cause health problems and early death.
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As many as 1 in 3 Americans eats fast food at least once a day, and most of those fast food meals include fried foods. Research has linked higher consumption of fried foods to Type 2 diabetes and heart problems, but studies also show eating fried foods every day could shorten your life.
"If you look at how long we've been on this earth, we didn't use to eat a lot of fried foods because we couldn't heat things up that much," Dr. Kopecky says.
He says human bodies simply did not evolve to know how to process fried foods. He compares it to using a fuel in your vehicle that it wasn't designed to run on.
"You have a diesel engine," Dr. Kopecky says. "Don't put gasoline in your diesel tank because it's going to ruin the engine, you know. And [it's] the same thing with this. We're not used to eating fried foods, so when we start eating something different, it clogs up our pipes, or our arteries."
Research shows eating fried chicken or fried fish daily increased the risk of death in women over 60 by as much as 13 percent.
Dr. Kopecky says the effects could be similar across all populations.
He says the problem isn't the chicken or the fish. It's the oils used when frying the chicken or the fish.
"The oils we use to fry foods are fats that really aren't that good for our body," he says.
Dr. Kopecky also says foods cooked in healthier oils such as olive oil still will taste good but won't damage your body.
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