Urbanized South Asians' susceptibility to coronary heart disease: The high-heat food preparation hypothesis.

Smitha Kakde, Rajinder Bhopal, Swati Bhardwaj, Anoop Misra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Known risk factors do not fully explain the comparatively high susceptibility to coronary
heart disease (CHD) in South Asians (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Sri Lankan populations in
South Asia and overseas). The search for explanatory hypotheses and cofactors that raise susceptibility
of South Asians to CHD continues. The aim of this study was to propose “the high-heat food
preparation hypothesis,” where neo-formed contaminants (NFCs) such as trans-fatty acids (TFAs)
and advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are the cofactors.
Methods: We reviewed the actions of AGEs and TFAs, the burden of these products in tissues and
blood in South Asians, the relationship between these products and CHD, the effects of preparing
food and reheating oils at high temperatures on NFCs, and the foods and mode of preparation in
South Asian and Chinese cuisines.
Results: Animal and human studies show NFCs increase the risk for CHD. Evidence on the consumption
and body burden of these products across ethnic groups is not available, and comparable
data on the NFC content of the cuisine of South Asians and potential comparison populations (e.g.,
the Chinese with lower CHD rates) are limited. South Asians’ cuisine is dominated by frying and
roasting techniques that use high temperatures. South Asian foods have high TFA content primarily
through the use of partially hydrogenated fats, reheated oils, and high-heat cooking. Reheating oils
greatly increases the TFA content. In comparison, Chinese cuisine involves mostly braising,
steaming, and boiling rather than frying.
Conclusion: We hypothesize that South Asians’ susceptibility to CHD is partly attributable to highheat
treated foods producing high NFCs. Research to accrue direct evidence is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216–224
Early online date25 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Urbanized South Asians' susceptibility to coronary heart disease: The high-heat food preparation hypothesis.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this