You CAN have that plate of chips (fries): Why fried foods are not always bad for you
For years we have been told that eating too much fried food is a sure-fire recipe for a heart attack.
However research from Spain, published in the British Medical Journal, found that the amount of oil consumed makes absolutely no difference to the incidence of heart disease.
The study monitored the diets and cooking methods of 40,000 people aged between 29 and 69 over an 11 year-period.
Participants were asked whether the food they ate was fried, battered, crumbed or sautéed with their diets divided into ranges of fried food consumption.
Fried food was defined as food for which frying was the only cooking method used.
None of the participants had heart disease when the study began, but by the end there were 606 events linked to heart disease and 1,134 deaths.
However there was no link between the heart attack deaths and the amount of oil a person consumed.
Professor Michael Leitzmann from the University of Regensburg in Germany, said the study exploded the myth that fried food 'bad for the heart'.
However he added that the research 'does not mean that frequent meals of fish and chips will have no health consequences.'
In Spain, people fry using unsaturated olive or sunflower oil as opposed to saturated fats like butter, lard and palm oil.
Fried food is also more calorific because it absorbs the fat of the oils, so too much can lead to weight gain which carries serious health consequences.
The authors of the study conclude: 'In a Mediterranean country where olive and sunflower oils are the most commonly used fats for frying, and where large amounts of fried foods are consumed both at and away from home, no association was observed between fried food consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease or death.'