Denizens of the Deep South whose diets are heavy on deep-fried foods and sugary soft drinks including sweet tea and soda are at higher risk for strokes than people in other parts of the country according to a new study led by Suzanne Judd of the University of Alabama, Birmingham.
“This is the first big look anyone has done at diet and strokes, and may explain why Blacks in the southeast (the nation’s ‘stroke belt’) are five times more likely than whites to have the southern dietary pattern linked to strokes, although both blacks and whites living in the region are more likely to eat this way than any other part of the country,” she commented.
“We’re taking about fried foods, French fries, hamburgers, processed meats, hot dogs and bacon, ham, liver, gizzards.”
Judd also explained that “part of this is because fried foods tend to be eaten with a lot of salt, which raises blood pressure, as well as the fact that the sweet drinks contribute to diabetes, the “disease that the ‘Queen of Southern Cooking,” Paula Deen is now fighting.”
In fact, people who ate about six meals a week featuring the above foods had a 41% higher risk of having a stroke than those that ate that way only once a month or so. In contrast, those who ate more (non-fried) fish, vegetables and whole grains had a 29% reduced risk of having a stroke.
These stats held up even after researchers took into consideration other factors among the population including age, education, smoking, exercise regimens and total calories consumed.
Results of the above study, which was co-funded by The National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Strokes, drugmaker Amgen, Inc. and General Mills were reported at the American Stroke Association Conference in Honolulu yesterday