Fried fish, chicken strips, french fries, mozzarella sticks—when it comes to fried foods, there’s no shortage of delicious options. But while fried foods may be tasty, they’re not exactly known for being healthy. Fried foods have been linked to several health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and cancer.
High Calories Leads to Easy Weight Gain
Fried foods tend to be loaded with way more calories than you need. And when you consume more calories than your body can burn off, those extra calories are stored as fat.
Fried foods are not only high in calories. They are very dense with calories. This means that many calories are packed into a relatively small volume. When you fill your stomach full of veggies, for example, that food volume will still be relatively low-calorie (yet highly nutritious). Compare that to a stomach full of fried foods—that same volume of food will now be very high-calorie (and probably less nutritious, too).
Since satiety (the feeling of fullness) is an important part of our enjoyment of eating, regularly eating fried foods is highly likely to gain weight and become overweight or obese. Obesity is a health concern on its own, as well as being a significant risk factor for developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Fried Foods are Linked to Heart Disease
Regular consumption of fried foods raises your risk of developing heart disease. It may raise your cholesterol to dangerous levels, leading to plaque formation in your arteries. Plaque buildup can raise your blood pressure, restrict blood flow, and, over time, put you at a high risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
You can significantly lower your risk of heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases by choosing baked and broiled meals instead of fried foods.
Greasy Foods Can Lead To Diabetes
Fried foods tend to be high in saturated fats and trans fats, both of which are associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They reduce insulin resistance, which means your body isn’t able to use the insulin it produces effectively.
Insulin is the hormone that helps your cells convert glucose (blood sugar) into energy. But greasy foods seem to clog the insulin receptor sites in your liver and other tissues, preventing insulin from doing its job correctly.
As a result, your blood sugar levels may rise to unhealthy levels, putting you at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. If your blood sugar levels remain high over time, this can lead to serious health problems such as nerve damage, organ failure, and death.
Eating Fried Foods May Increase Your Risk of Cancer
The high temperatures used in frying meats can cause the amino acids and sugars in those foods to react with one another and form cancer-causing compounds such as acrylamide. This compound is found in high levels in fried foods. It has been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer. However, other studies have not found as strong of a connection.
Still, fried foods should not be a regular part of your diet, as many other risks are associated with eating them. If you choose to eat fried foods, be sure to do so in moderation and balance them out with plenty of other healthy, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.