Studies have published it, doctors have recommended against it, and now, researchers at the University of Alabama have further confirmed that the southern-style diet is hazardous for your heart. There is no surprise, and the lead author of the study would admit it himself.
However, the magnitude of the problem has been brought to light, along with several findings that are just as worrying. Coronary heart disease claims the lives of 350,000 people each year only in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps insisting that a proper diet and regular workout, along with avoiding harmful habits could prevent cardiovascular problems.
In spite of the American Heart Association claiming that the numbers of casualties due to heart problems are dropping, there still seems to be a need for Americans to be warned that certain diets can increase the chance of premature death.
Researchers polled 17,000 people of 45 years old or over, who had never experienced heart problems, about their dietary patterns. The study included follow-ups every six months for six years, inquired by telephone what they eat, how often and general details about their food pallet.
They were split into five categories: “the Southern-style eaters”, meaning those who indulge in sugary drinks and fried foods, cooked with oil and rich in fat (fried chicken, bacon, eggs, processed meat), “Convenience food eaters” such as those who base their diet on take-out food like Chinese, Mexican, pizza or pasta, “the Sweets pattern” as those who often add sugar or other sweeteners to their food, “Plant-based” for those who frequently eat vegetables, cereal and fruits, and lastly, the “Alcohol and Salad group”, who often accompany leafy vegetables with beer or wine.
Without a doubt and across all demographic factors such as age, race, gender, weight, it was observed that those within the Southern-style diet had a 56% increase of experiencing a coronary episode. In fact, participants showed a likelihood of suffering of 37% more than the others after only six years, and 536 of heart attacks ended in death.
Researcher James Shikany of the University of Alabama, recommends that people make a gradual change to their diets, very slowly weaning off the more appealing comfort foods or, at the very least, reduce their frequency.
What was more interesting, according to Shikany, was that plant-based diet lacked the protective effect, in spite of being boasted as the healthiest. It means that while a diet based on vegetables is healthier, the study has uncovered that it’s certainly not defending the eater from any future heart problems. There are far more requirements than a vegetarian diet to keep healthy.
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