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It turns out Chinese parents were on to something in warning their children against the consumption of fried food generally referred to as yeet hay.
The term itself is not only used in a variety of dishes believed in Chinese culture to cause an imbalance in the body’s energy levels but is also meant to describe how a person is feeling after consuming these types of foods. According to older Chinese, symptoms of yeet hay include a sore throat, acne, lethargy and mouth sores.
A study published in the medical journal BMJ on Wednesday, however, suggests that fried food may cause even more harmful effects than yeet hay symptoms.
According to the research conducted on postmenopausal women in the United States, a regular serving of fried chicken or fish is linked to a higher risk of death from any cause excluding cancer.
The research team studied the food habits of almost 107,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79 from 40 clinics across the U.S. between 1993 and 1998. The participants were followed up for an average of 18 years.
In the study’s calculations, the researchers also took into account other factors related to mortality, including education level, income, total energy consumption and overall diet quality.
Based on the findings, women who consumed a serving or more of fried chicken a day had a 13% higher risk of death from any cause, with a 12% increased risk of a heart-related death compared to women who did not eat any fried food.
Meanwhile, those who ate a daily portion of fried fish or shellfish saw a 7% greater risk of death and 13% higher heart-related death.
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Researchers suggest that less consumption of fried foods, particularly fried chicken and fish, is ideal for public health, CNN reports.
“We know fried food consumption is something very common in the United States and also around the world. Unfortunately, we know very little about the long-term health effect of fried food consumption,” Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa and the study’s lead author, was quoted as saying.
While previous studies have looked into the link of fried foods to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, Bao believes their study is the first in the U.S. that looked into the relationship between fried food consumption and mortality.
However, the study did not find any substantial link between total or specific fried food consumption and cancer deaths.
“If you fry fish, it may turn a good thing into a harmful thing,” Bao noted. “Although there is an increased risk of eating fried food in terms of mortality, the risk is lower with low frequency.”
While the study only involved female participants, Bao thinks the study can be applied to American men as well, as previous studies into the health effects of fried foods did not indicate gender differences.