Consider options when choosing fries and fish

April 22nd, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Research News

french fries

Go local if you want french fries but need to watch your cholesterol, two University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers advise.

Geobiologist A. Hope Jahren and postdoctoral researcher Brian Schubert analyzed fries from 134 restaurants on Oʻahu in a self-funded study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in December 2009.

The french fries served at most national chain restaurants sampled on Oʻahu contained corn oil, which is higher in cholesterol-raising saturated fat than the canola, soy or safflower oils typically used in independent restaurants, they found. Only one in five of the smaller establishments used corn oil.

The researchers visited 68 of the 101 national chain restaurants on the island and a similar number of local establishments, including Big City Diner, Rainbow Drive-In, Like Like Drive Inn, Kuaʻaina Sandwich Shop, Kanpai Bar and Grill and South Shore Grill.

Because knowledge of ingredients influences consumers’ eating habits, fast food restaurants need to provide more ingredient and nutrient content information at the point of purchase, the authors say.

Consider cooking methods when selecting fish for its heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Baked or boiled fish offer protective benefits; fried, salted or dried fish do not, UH Mānoa doctoral candidate Lixin Meng reported at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2009.

In a study comparing the dietary intake of omega-3 among men and women in Los Angeles and Hawaiʻi, men who ate about 3.3 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids had a 23 percent lower risk of cardiac death compared to those who ate 0.8 grams daily, she reported.

The association wasn’t as clear among females. “For women, eating omega-3s from shoyu and tofu that contain other active ingredients, such as phytoestrogens, might have a stronger cardio-protective effect than eating just omega-3s,” she hypothesizes.

Meng’s co-authors are Lynne Wilkens and Laurence Kolonel of UH’s Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi.

Read the American Heart Association news release.

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