Traditional Southern Diet Linked to Increased Risk of Strokes

A new study confirms what most of us likely already expected - a traditional Southern diet is linked to strokes.

Conducted by a team of researchers led by Suzanna Judd, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Alabama, the study is the first large-scale effort to examine how a diet of fried chicken, hushpuppies, ham, sweet teas, and bacon can raise the possibility of stroke.

Judd and her colleagues medically assessed 20,000 patients aged 45 and older. Participants took surveys and answered questions about their eating habits and health in both 2003 and 2007. While those who ate traditional Southern diets lived throughout the U.S., about two-thirds of those involved int he study were located in the southeastern region of the United States.

Previous studies have indicated that Southerners are around 20 percent more likely to have a stroke than people who live in other areas of the country.

This study, however, shows that the frequency of stroke was proportional to the consumption of a Southern diet. Those who ate Southern food six times per week had about a 41 percent higher risk of stroke compared to those who just ate Southern food once per month.

The study also found that the diet accounted for 63 percent of the higher risk of stroke among African-Americans compared to white Americans.

Whether you live in the South or not, the results of this study suggest that cutting back on fried, fatty foods is probably a good idea.