Study finds Southern cooking may be killing African Americans

Study finds Southern cooking may be killing African-Americans. (Photo: MGN)

MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) - Here in the south, soul food runs through our veins.

"Wings, collard greens, cornbread, dressing, that's like my favorite food to eat," Ciara Nobles said.

But could those dishes be why African Americans are more likely to develop hypertension than whites?

"I don't have high blood pressure, and I've been eating it all my life," Nobles said.

A recent study says "yes." Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham followed nearly 7,000 adults for a little over nine years, tracking their cholesterol and blood pressure.

They found southern-style diets, which can include staples like fried fish, chicken and potatoes, and sugar-sweetened drinks seemed to be the culprit for both black men and women.

"It's not really the southern food that's doing it," owner of Big White Wings, Maurice White said. "Sometimes people over do the cooking, too much salt, too much grease."

White says it’s not the food itself, it’s the way it’s prepared and how much seasoning is added.

"I don't put no season on the fires unless they ask, but the bell peppers and the onions, they normally flavor up the food, but you can get around from the salt and seasoning."

Researchers say the southern diet likely contributes to excess hypertension due to higher sodium intake.

The combination of a high-sodium diet and limited beneficial foods containing vitamins and minerals probably creates the perfect storm to make this diet less healthy.

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