fried foods

Written by: American Heart Association

Regularly eating a Southern-style diet may increase the risk of sudden cardiac death, while routinely consuming a Mediterranean diet may reduce that risk, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open-access journal of the American Heart Association.

The Southern diet is characterized by added fats, fried foods, eggs, organ meats (such as liver or giblets), processed meats (such as deli meat, bacon and hot dogs) and sugar-sweetened beverages. The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and legumes and low in meat and dairy.

“While this study was observational in nature, the results suggest that diet may be a modifiable risk factor for sudden cardiac death, and therefore, diet is a risk factor that we have some control over,” said James M. Shikany, DrPH, the study’s lead author and professor of medicine and associate director for Research in the Division of Preventive Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Improving one’s diet — by eating a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish such as the Mediterranean diet and low in fried foods, organ meats and processed meats, characteristics of the Southern-style dietary pattern, may decrease one’s risk for sudden cardiac death,” he said.

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