People often have conflicted relationship with and about fried foods. A study conducted by the University of Madrid, surveying thousands of people over 11 years, did not find an association between fried food consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease or death.
Coronary heart disease, and subsequent death, is often heralded as the most important reasons for avoiding fried foods. This article should not be read as a go-ahead to reach for any fried food, anytime, and doing so would be a big mistake. The article’s findings were not, in fact, relevant to an Indian audience.
Fried food increases the food’s calorie content significantly, which is unsurprising. Frying something allows fat to seep into it and, as we then eat the fried food, this affects our body in two distinct and important ways. First of all, our daily calorie content obviously increases by leaps and bounds. Secondly, our diet then leans heavily toward fat consumption.
Making a habit of eating fried food crosses the recommended 20 to 30 percent daily fat intake and does so frequently; this obviously leads to sometimes significant, if slow, weight gain which can quickly become a medical problem in the form of obesity, which brings with it a host of negative effects such as aches and pains, difficulty getting around, and strain on the heart.
Fried food in and of itself does not constitute a medical emergency, but its frequent consumption can certainly contribute to an overall unhealthy lifestyle, which can negatively impact well-being and quality of life in the long-term. The study mentioned above took place in Spain, a place known for its balanced diet and relatively healthy life-style; look around Spain and you will struggle to find obese people.
The oil used for frying, in Spain, is typically healthier than the oils found and used in India and, in fact, olive oil such as the type used in Spain can actually be rather healthy and a part of a balanced diet. Of course, even with these “healthy” oils can constitute too much of a good thing, and overconsumption can still lead to weight gain. As ever, balance is absolutely integral to healthy diet and lifestyle.
Of course, when talking about diets and a healthy lifestyle, portion control is absolutely key to the process. The Mediterranean diet differs from typical Indian diets even in how the food is served. Each plateful should, ideally, be balanced with good fats, lean protein, and raw vegetables. Cereals should ideally be whole grain, and salt content should be minimal. Sticking not only to balanced diets but healthy portion sizes is very important if you wanton avoid weight gain.
Indian foods can be healthy and could benefit from better, healthy cooking oils. Indulging in fried foods is not in and of itself very bad thing, especially if the oil is healthy. However, this study cannot be used to justify making a habit of eating large portions of unhealthy foods—such as fried foods—often