NUTRITION&FOOD Published August10, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Southern Diet Boosts Heart Risk by Over 50%

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Although Southern food is comfort food, it also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 56%, says a new study.

The body needs fat, fiber, micro and macro nutrients, and protein, to name a few, to thrive and survive. However, the ratio can greatly vary. For instance, while fat is important, it doesn't need a lot of it.

Certain dietary patterns, however, can make food more sinful-at least for the body. One of these is the Southern diet, which is mainly comprised of dishes rich in a lot of fat (think of blocks of butter), eggs, and fatty meats including bacon and organ meats. Drinks laden with sugar then complete the meals.

In a recent study conducted by colleagues of Preventive Medicine Division of the University of Alabama and Birmingham, this type of diet is one step closer to developing a heart disease.

For the study, they referred to the data available in REGARDS, which stands for Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke. More than 17,000 men and women with ages above 45 years old in good health were considered. These people were enrolled to the study between 2003 and 2007.

Each of the participants was asked about their food habits, including their frequency of intake. Based on the data, the researchers were able to create 5 dietary patterns. Aside from Southern diet, they also have convenience (consumption of ready-to-eat meals), plant based, sweets, and salad and alcohol.

Using certain hazard regression models, they found out that those who ate Southern diet have at least 56% chance of developing acute coronary heart disease, the highest among all the dietary patterns.

The percentage, further, hardly ever changes even if other factors that can affect diet such as income, education, and social status are being considered. Nevertheless, those who are prone to such diets are people of low income, around 65 years old, and live in areas such as Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, which are part of the "stroke belt." 

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