According to research, frying fish causes the loss of omega-3 fatty acids. (Photo: Stock File)
Omega-3 lost when fish is fried: study
Friday, December 24, 2010, 15:30 (GMT + 9)
The health benefits of fish containing omega-3 fatty acids disappear if the fish is fried, according to an Emory University study. It discovered that consuming fried fish is more common in southern US states whose populations suffer from a higher rate of deadly stroke.
The study was published online and will appear in next month’s issue of Neurology.
Fish - particularly fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring and halibut - are known to be rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. Studies have shown that both fatty acids lower the risk of stroke, heart disease and atherosclerosis in large part because they lower triglyceride levels, blood pressure and inflammation.
But researchers at Emory University found that in “stroke belt” states - Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee - fried fish is eaten more often than in other states. And denizens of these states are more likely to suffer a stroke and die from it than people residing elsewhere in the US.
The findings were founded on the researchers’ evaluation of data on 21,675 participants in a programme called Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS). Fifty-five per cent of the participants lived in states with high stroke rates, eMaxHealth reports.
They were interviewed by telephone and asked to answer a questionnaire regarding their consumption of oysters, shellfish, tuna, fried, fish and non-fried fish. The participants underwent an in-home physical examination as well.
The study’s investigators found that people living in the stroke belt states were less prone to eat two or more servings of 3 oz each of non-fried fish per week based on American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines. However, they were 30 per cent more likely to eat two or more servings of fried fish compared to residents of other states.
Additionally, the study found that just 23 per cent of the participants consumed two or more servings of non-fried fish per week, people in the stroke belt were 17 per cent less prone to consume recommended weekly servings of non-fried fish and that African-Americans were over 3.5 times more likely to eat at least two servings of fried fish weekly versus whites.
“These differences in fish consumption may be one of the potential reasons for the racial and geographic differences in stroke incidence and mortality,” reasoned Fadi Nahab, MD, of Emory University and the study’s lead author.
A separate study demonstrated that DHA can protect stroke victims from brain damage and disability. A research team from Louisiana State University discovered that DHA can restore the brain up to five hours after a person suffers a stroke.
According to research, frying fish causes the loss of omega-3 fatty acids. Residents of the stroke belt states could ensure they consume omega-3 fatty acids in their fish if they switch from frying to baked, broiled and other non-frying cooking methods.
But Howard Sesso, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, believes drawing conclusions from the study is tricky, reports HealthDay.
"They didn't actually look at health outcomes such as strokes," he said. ”The study is "insightful, but doesn't address specifically which fried food is actually linked to a risk of stroke in this population."
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By Natalia Real