(HealthDay News) – Fried chicken, sweet tea and greens cooked in bacon fat — delicious hallmarks of a Southern diet — may increase your risk for a heart attack, a new study suggests.

Lead researcher James Shikany, a professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, said that regularly eating Southern-style dishes was linked to a 56 percent increased risk for heart attack during the almost six years of the study.

However, it’s important to note that the study wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship between these foods and heart disease, only an association.

Still, Shikany said, “there are many possible mechanisms that increase risk.” These include excess saturated fats and nitrates in processed meats and sugar, which increase cholesterol, insulin resistance and body weight, all of which are linked to an increased risk for heart disease, he added.


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