Archive for February 2011
Fried fish is a favorite on the menu of many restaurants in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Its prevalence may be contributing to a higher rate of fatal strokes in those states, which have been dubbed by researchers as the “stroke belt.”
The study authored by Emory University in Atlanta and published in the journal Neurology, found that although people in the stroke belt ate a lot of fish, the frying process negated its health benefits. The region they identified as the “stroke buckle”, namely North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, had even higher rates of death by stroke than those in other parts of the stroke belt.
Researchers examined 21,675 people. Of those, 21 percent were from the stroke buckle, 34 percent were from the other states in the stroke belt, and 44 percent were from other states. People in the stroke belt were 30 percent more likely to eat two or more servings of fried fish per week than people in the rest of the country.
Equally alarming, African Americans were 3.5 times more likely to eat two or more servings of fried fish weekly than other races, and have nearly double the risk for stroke. Researchers concluded that the loss of beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids that occurred during frying largely contributed to the higher rate of fatal strokes in at-risk, southern states.
In a study by the University of Michigan health system, researchers found that women could more than double their fruit and vegetable intake by not changing the amount, but the type of foods they ate. Study subjects dramatically increased their consumption of good fats, high fiber and whole grains simply by switching to the Mediterranean diet.
The six-month study divided 69 women into two groups. One group continued with their usual diet and did not receive any dietary counseling. The other group worked with registered dieticians who used an exchange list of foods that are common in a Mediterranean diet to make a plan for each participant. The exchange list included lots of healthy fats found in fish, olive oil, and avocado, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and seeds.
The group that received counseling and ate a Mediterranean diet reached their nutritional goal within three months, and maintained the change for the duration of the study. The comparison group made little or no changes, and saw little improvement in their overall nutrition.
The study was conducted to devise an effective method for achieving the major nutrient intakes of the Greek-Mediterranean diet using American foods. It concluded that the women were able to easily and successfully change their dietary habits using commonly found ingredients when guided by a nutritional counselor.