As healthy as I try to be and as satisfied as I am by superfoods like avocado, Greek yogurt, and chia seeds, I have one major weakness: fried foods. I know, they’re not the healthiest, but there is something so delightful about a warm fast-food fry or the perfect carnival funnel cake sprinkled with powdered sugar. Fried pickles? I go weak in the knees. (I do draw the line at the deep-fried Oreo—I’m not impressed.)
Fried foods are definitely an indulgence best in moderation, we all know that. Culturally, the recent introduction of Burger King’s new Satisfries—which are being touted as a healthier fast-food fry with 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories—just confirms what we already know, that we all consider fried-foods to be a guilty, sinful treat.
New research shows that maybe we don’t need to feel quite as guilty about our fried indulgences. While eating fried foods regularly may not be too friendly to your waistline—they’ve been linked to obesity—they might not mean a higher likelihood of heart disease or an earlier death, either. One study of more than 40,000 Spanish people showed that those who ate the most fried foods had no greater risk of heart disease or premature death. While that’s slightly reassuring, it’s important to consider the types of oil used: those in the Spanish studied used mostly olive and sunflower oils. Other factors matter too, such as if something is deep fried or pan fried, added salt, and how many times the oil is re-used, experts say.
It certainly won’t hurt your health to cut down on the fried foods in favor of fresh, unprocessed fare. But perhaps you don’t need to avoid the fry every time it tempts you. (And hey there are always the BK Satisfries if you want to go a “healthier” route!)
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