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April 3, 2013 • Heart Health

Southern Food Diet Boosts Stroke Risk

As a seventh generation Southern gal, I was dismayed, but certainly not surprised that a new study found a “Southern Diet” may dramatically boost the risk of strokes. In what is considered the first large-scale study on how consuming Southern foods like fried chicken and sweet tea impact stroke risk, the results were profound. The study included over 20,000 African American and white adults, and identified a direct link between stroke risk and eating Southern foods. Foods considered “Southern” were: fried chicken,  fried fish, fried potatoes, bacon, ham, liver, gizzards, and sugary beverages like sweet tea. Those who ate Southern foods six times a week had a 41% higher risk of stroke vs. those who ate it once a month. In this evaluation, a “Southern diet” accounted for 63% of the excess risk of stroke among African Americans relative to Caucasians living in the same areas. The evil trio of salt, unhealthy fats, and sugar in classic Southern cuisine is simply vicious to our precious arteries. (AHA International Stroke Conference, 2013)