Fried foods may not be as harmful to the heart if olive oil or sunflower oil is used to prepare them, experts say, quoted by bmj.com.
Scientists from the Autonomous University of Madrid have not found an increased risk of heart disease associated with foods processed in this way.
However, the conclusion does not apply to products with lard or other cooking fat.
When food is fried, it becomes more caloric as it absorbs some of the oil or butter. Consumption of foods rich in fat in the long run leads to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
For the purposes of the study, the experts examined the diet of 40,757 adults and the way they prepare food.
None of the participants showed signs of cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. Eleven years later, researchers recorded 606 cases of heart disease and 1,134 fatal accidents.
Researchers have not found a link between the development of heart disease and the consumption of fried foods. According to them, it depends on the type of fat used in cooking.
The myth that frying food in general is bad for the heart is not supported by the available evidence, says Prof. Michael Leitzmann of the University of Regensburg, Germany. But that does not mean that frequent consumption of chips and other fatty foods will not have health consequences, he added.
Regardless of the cooking methods used, eating foods high in fat means high calorie intake, said Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation. This can lead to weight gain and obesity, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Good for a healthy heart is a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, including low consumption of foods rich in fat.