People often resort to low-fat diets to maintain a healthier lifestyle and prolong their lives.
But according to a major study published in the medical journal The Lancet, those who do so increase the risk of an early death by almost one quarter.
Gathering data from 135,000 adults across 18 countries who cut back on fats, Canadian researchers claim that limiting fat intake does more harm than good.
“Our data suggests that low fat diets put populations at increased risk for cardiovascular disease,” lead researcher Dr. Andrew Mente, of McMaster University in Ontario, was quoted as saying in a Telegraph report.
“Loosening the restriction on total fat and saturated fat and imposing limits on carbohydrates when high to reduce intake to moderate levels would be optimal,” he added.
His group of researchers concluded that those with low intake of saturated fat raised chances of early death by 13 percent compared with those eating higher doses.
They attributed the increase to “low-fat” meal substitutes, as dieters often go for stodgy alternatives like bread and pasta, and often miss out on some vital nutrients.
Those doing so tended to eat far too much stodgy food like rice, the experts said, while missing out on vital nutrients.
Furthermore, Dr. Mente stressed the importance of consuming a balanced amount of fats and carbohydrates to achieve a “sweet spot,” which is best for health. He added that humans still need 35 percent of calories from fats.
Still, other medical experts warned that dietary officials should re-examine their advice and ensure the public gets the best message out of these findings.
“This study suggests we should perhaps pay more attention to the amount of carbohydrate in our diet than we have in the past and we may need to revise the guidelines,” Prof. Jeremy Pearson of the British Heart Foundation said.
“What I don’t think people should do is get excited and think ‘I can eat as much saturated fat as I like.”
Meanwhile, the study emphasized that those who regularly consume refined sugars found in fizzy drinks and processed meals had the highest mortality with a 28 percent risk of early death. Khristian Ibarrola /ra
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