Fried food consumption and its effects on cardiovascular disease are still subjects of debate. The objective of this review was to summarize current evidence on the association between fried food consumption and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity and to recommend directions for future research. We used PubMed, Google Scholar and Medline searches to retrieve pertinent publications. Most available data were based on questionnaires as a tool to capture fried food intakes, and study design was limited to case-control and cohort studies. While few studies have reported a positive association between frequencies of fried food intake and risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure, diabetes or hypertension, other investigators have failed to confirm such an association. There is strong evidence suggesting a higher risk of developing chronic disease when fried foods are consumed more frequently (i.e., four or more times per week). Major gaps in the current literature include a lack of detailed information on the type of oils used for frying foods, stratification of the different types of fried food, frying procedure (deep and pan frying), temperature and duration of frying, how often oils were reused and a lack of consideration of overall dietary patterns. Besides addressing these gaps, future research should also develop tools to better define fried food consumption at home versus away from home and to assess their effects on chronic diseases. In summary, the current review provides enough evidence to suggest adverse health effects with higher frequency of fried food consumption. While awaiting confirmation from future studies, it may be advisable to the public to consume fried foods in moderation while emphasizing an overall healthy diet.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; diabetes mellitus; diet; fried food; hypertension; obesity and risk factor.