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Analysis confirms dangers of diet high in fried food

Most of us know that a diet rich in fried food is bad for us. A review of studies quantifies just how bad it can be.

In a meta-analysis of 19 studies that included diet and health data on more than 1.2 million men and women from around the world, Chinese researchers calculated the effect of eating french fries, fried fish, fried snacks and other fried food on cardiovascular health.

Comparing the groups with the highest intake of fried food with people who ate the least over an average period of nine years, they found that high consumption of fried food increased the relative risk for coronary heart disease by 22%, for stroke by 37%, for heart failure by 37%, for death from cardiovascular disease by 2% and for death from any cause by 3%.

The analysis, in the journal Heart, found no evidence that one kind of fried food was any better than another. Using the combined data, the researchers calculated that each additional weekly 114-gram (about 4-ounce) serving of fried food increases the risk for heart failure by 12% and for a major cardiovascular event by 3%.

Agent Orange exposure increases dementia in veterans

Veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War may be more likely to develop dementia than their unexposed comrades.

Agent Orange is an herbicide that the U.S. military used during the war to defoliate Vietnam’s dense jungles in order to deprive North Vietnamese soldiers of a place to hide and to destroy food crops. Exposure has been associated with Parkinson’s disease, some cancers, hypertension and other diseases and conditions. Its active ingredients include dioxin, a highly toxic carcinogen that enters the body easily and persists in tissues over time.

Researchers used Veterans Health Administration data to study 316,351 Vietnam veterans, 98% men, 38,121 of whom who had been exposed to Agent Orange. They followed them for up to 14 years beginning in 2001, when their average age was 62. The study is in JAMA Neurology.

Compared with those who weren’t exposed to Agent Orange, those exposed to the herbicide were almost twice as likely to develop dementia.

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