‘Southern-style’ diet is tough on the heart, researchers say

Birmingham, AL – Count heart disease as yet another threat posed by consuming a diet filled with “Southern-style” foods such as fried chicken, bacon and sugary beverages, according to a study from the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

People who regularly eat Southern-style foods face a 56 percent higher risk of developing heart disease, researchers said. Previous research has linked Southern-style diets to an increased risk of stroke and an increased risk of death for chronic kidney disease patients.

“For anyone eating a lot of the main components of the Southern dietary pattern, I’d recommend they scale back on their consumption,” lead author James M. Shikany, professor in UAB’s Division of Preventive Medicine, said in a press release. “If you’re eating bacon every morning, maybe cut back to only two or three days per week, or if you’re drinking four glasses of sweet tea or several sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day, maybe reduce that to one a day and replace those with non-sweetened beverages.”

The study was published online Aug. 10 in the journal Circulation.

The federal government offers a variety of tips on healthy eating at Nutrition.gov.