Background and aims: The consumption of fried foods is believed to be linked with obesity and higher weight gain, however, the evidence from long-term randomized trials or prospective epidemiological studies is scarce. Therefore, the aim of our study was to prospectively evaluate the association between the consumption of fried foods and weight change and the incidence of overweight/obesity in a Mediterranean cohort.
Methods and results: Prospective cohort study of 9850 men and women with a mean age of 38.1 years (SD 11.4) were followed-up for a median of 6.1 years to assess average yearly change in body weight, and incidence of overweight/obesity. The consumption of fried foods was associated with higher weight gain, but the differences were of small magnitude and statistically non-significant. The incidence of overweight/obesity during follow-up was also assessed in the subset of 6821 participants with initial body mass index <25 kg/m(2) (initially free of overweight/obesity), after adjusting for potential confounders, the odds ratio for developing overweight/obesity among participants who consumed fried foods >4 times/week was 1.37 (95% confidence interval: 1.08 to 1.73) in comparison with those who consumed fried foods <2 times/week (p for trend = 0.02).
Conclusion: In this Mediterranean prospective cohort, a more frequent consumption of fried foods at baseline was associated with a higher risk of subsequently developing overweight/obesity during follow-up.