Meta-Analysis Provides Insight on Fried Food and its Impact on Heart Health

A meta-analysis of nearly 20 studies is offering clinicians further insight into the effects of consuming fried foods on cardiovascular health.

Results of a new study are drawing a direct link between consumption of fried food and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.

A meta-analysis of more than a dozen observational studies, the new study suggests every additional serving of fried food per week was linked to a 3% increase in risk of major adverse cardiovascular events, a 2% increase in risk of coronary heart disease, and a 12% increase in risk of heart failure.

“Our study provided evidence for the adverse effects of consuming fried food on CVD and can be useful for dietary guidelines,” wrote investigators. “WHO suggested limiting fried-food consumption to reduce the amount of total fat intake and industrially produced trans-fatty acid intake for a healthy diet. However, no dietary guideline is approved for the specific effect of fried food consumption on CVD.”

With an interest in determining the association of fried food consumption with risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, investigators sought to evaluate these potential associations through an analysis of studies published in the EMBASE, PubMed, and Web of Science databases from inception through April 11, 2020. An initial search of these databases returned 80 full-text articles for review. Of these, 19 articles examining were identified for inclusion in the current meta-analysis.

From these studies, investigators obtained information related to 562,445 individuals and 36,727 major cardiovascular events. Of note, 6 cohort studies examined all-cause mortality—these studies included 754,873 participants who were followed for a median of 9.5 years. Of note, 85,906 deaths occurred during the follow-up period of these studies.

When comparing those with the highest levels of fried food intake to those with the lowest, results suggested increased intake was associated with a 28% increase in risk of major cardiovascular events (RR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.15-1.43; I2=82%), a 22% increase in risk of coronary heart disease (RR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.07-1.40; I2=77.9%), a 37% increase in risk of stroke, and a 37% increase in risk of heart failure. Further analysis indicated a 2% increase in risk of cardiovascular mortality and a 3% increase in risk for all-cause mortality.

Investigators performed additional analyses to determine how risk ratios may have differed based on study design. For major cardiovascular events, analysis of prospective studies yielded a RR of 1.24 (95% CI, 1.12-1.38; I2=75.7%) and case-control studies yielded a RR of 1.91 (95% CI, 1.15-3.17; I2=92.1%). For coronary heart disease, analysis of prospective studies yielded a RR of 1.16 (95% CI, 1.05-1.29; I2=44.6%) and case-control studies yielded a RR of 1.91 (95% CI, 1.05-3.47; I2=93.9%).

“The association between fried-food consumption and risk of stroke, heart failure, cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mortality has not been firmly established, so more studies are warranted to investigate the association,” wrote investigators.

This study, “Fried-food consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis of observational studies,” was published in Heart.