Southern-fried Diet Raises Risk for Early Death

If you’re hungry for some Southern-style cooking, there’s one way to separate the amateurs from the real-deal. Take a look at the condiments on the table.

You’ll probably see salt and pepper, mustard, ketchup, hot sauce, horseradish, and tangy barbecue sauce made from a closely-guarded recipe. But there’s at least one condiment that serves as a tell-tale sign of artery-clogging Southern cooking: A pitcher of chicken fat to pour on your food.

Guess what? Too much Southern-style eating or dousing your food in chicken fat is bad for your health. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at the eating habits of 7,000 people over a 14-year period.

They found that people who frequently eat Southern-style food (fried in oil, cooked with fat, high in sodium, etc.), are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, higher rates of obesity, and a greater risk for heart disease and early death.

Take closer look at your diet. Are you eating a lot of fried foods, processed meats, and baked goods, without eating a lot of fruits and vegetables? It’s a hallmark of the Southern-style diet.

If you’re trying to watch your weight and control your blood pressure, go ahead and enjoy a Southern-style meal from time to time. But you can’t eat that way every day if you want to live a long and healthy life.

So what should you eat? It’s not that complicated. Here’s what a healthy diet looks like: (baked or grilled) lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

That might sound like a tall order if you’re not used to eating that way. But it’s not as hard as you might think, especially if you eat meals like the ones you’ll find on the Portion Control menu. These meals are made with fresh ingredients and taste great (no pool of chicken fat on your plate required).