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.