Fried foods, sugar in "Southern" diet linked to stroke risk - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Fried foods, sugar in "Southern" diet linked to stroke risk

Source: WBRC video Source: WBRC video

Fried foods, bacon and sweet tea. It's easy to see how the South has the unfortunate distinction as the "Stroke Belt."

Now, researchers have drawn the strongest link yet between the Southern foods we love and the risk for stroke.

Researchers at the University of Alabama found that over a four-year period people who ate Southern-style foods at least six times a week are 41 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who only eat those foods once a month. Among African-Americans, that risk jumps to 63 percent.

Paw Paw Patch patron Paula Henderson says it's a wake up call.

"It makes me very scared," she said. "Very concerned about it, especially my family members."

The 30-year-old restaurant hasn't seen a dip in fried chicken orders, but they are trying to keep up with a health-conscious society.

"We had to modify some of our vegetables because we used to put the old fat back and the jowels, they used to use, ham hocks. We don't use a whole lot of butter on a lot of stuff," general manager John Bertolini said.

The study adds that those who eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are 29 percent less likely to suffer a stroke.

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