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You are what you eat: Latest study reveals link between sudden cardiac death and high-fat diet

A recent study has proven without a doubt what we have known for years now. Regular consumption of foods rich in fat, fried food, processed meats and sugary drinks has been linked to increased chances of sudden cardiac death.

Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the research which was conducted over a period of 18 years, has produced concrete proof that such a diet is largely responsible for sudden cardiac deaths, a common cause of death in the US. Dietary patterns of over 21,000 people over the age of 45 were analyzed over the course of the research.

Distinct dietary patterns were created based on the foods that one consumed. The ‘convenience’ pattern included take-away dishes, fast foods and Mexican and Chinese food. The ‘plant-based’ group favored vegetables, fruits, cereal, beans and the like. The ‘southern’ diet included fried food, eggs, meat – both organ and processed and sugary beverages.

Analysts found that the southern-style diet exhibited the highest risks of sudden cardiac death. The risk stood at 46 per cent compared to the other diets. The ‘Mediterranean’ style diet which is generally high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, fish and grains, lowered the chances of sudden cardiac death by 26 per cent.

The problem with consuming the southern-style diet is that the risk rises with every weekly serving. Generally, Western diet is high in processed meat, saturated fats, refined sugars and carbohydrates and low in vegetables, fruits and wholegrains. When fried fats and food coupled with sugar-sweetened beverages are added to it, the perfect situation for a sudden cardiac death is created.

Food covered in flour and fried, especially those found in fast-food chains, are high in trans fats which raise the level of low-density lipoprotein or ‘bad’ cholesterol in simple terms. The build-up of this ‘bad’ cholesterol over time increases the risks of a sudden cardiac death.

James Shikany, DrPH, professor of medicine at the University of Alabama, who is the lead study author said that the results indicate that some degree of control can be exerted in reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death through our diet. “I hope this is another piece of the puzzle that will help people make changes. So instead of eating meat once or twice a day they’ll cut down to two or three times a week; I like small, incremental changes as those are more likely to last,” he concluded.

Daniel is our UK-based freelance Editor. As part of our quest towards credible news, Doctor's Clinic Blog India affiliates with individuals from other parts of the world to provide an in-depth focus on essential topics. Daniel received his degree from the University of Sheffield, and since then, worked to multiple sites as a freelance contributor and editor.

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