Onion rings, doughnuts, and crispy fried chicken may not be off limits!
If you have a thing for onion rings, doughnuts, or crispy fried chicken, you’ll be happy to hear that they may not be artery-clogging after all—provided you choose the right oil. In a new report published in the British Medical Journal, researchers tracked eating patterns in Spain for 11 years and found that those who regularly ate fried food had no higher incidence of heart disease than those who didn’t. That may be because the oils used most often in Spanish cuisine are sunflower and olive, “which are richer in heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats than many other options,” explains Pilar Guallar-Castillón, Ph.D., lead author of the study. Olive oil is also less prone to oxidize when heated—a process that can degrade antioxidants like vitamin E. Still, she says, you should indulge in moderation because most foods from the frying pan tend to score high in calories and sodium.