If people eat too few saturated fats, it will endanger life expectancy
Many people pay attention to a low-fat diet in order to stay as slim and healthy as possible. There are now various forms of nutrition that, for example, completely do without meat or carbohydrates. Researchers have now found that eliminating saturated fats in the diet leads to an increase in the death rate of up to 13 percent.
In their investigation, scientists at McMaster University in Canada found that refraining from consuming saturated fats in the diet made people more likely to die prematurely. The experts published the results of their study in "The Lancet".
Researchers examine more than 135,000 subjects
For their study, the doctors analyzed the data from more than 135,000 people. They found that reducing saturated fat intake to less than three percent of total calories resulted in an increased mortality rate of 13 percent. A higher intake of all kinds of fats reduced the overall risk of death by 23 percent, the risk of stroke by 18 percent and the non-heart-related mortality rate by 30 percent, the experts explain.
How does a diet rich in carbohydrates work?
A diet high in carbohydrates (about 77 percent of the calories consumed) resulted in a 28 percent greater risk of premature death, although such diets did not affect the rate of heart attacks and strokes, the scientists add.
Subjects were between 35 and 70 years old
The scientists compared the subjects with the highest intake of fats and carbohydrates with participants with a low intake over a period of over seven years. The study participants were between 35 and 70 years old, say the experts. The subjects came from 18 countries with low, medium and high incomes.
Where do people consume the most carbohydrates and fats?
The average diet worldwide consists of approximately 61.2 percent carbohydrates and 23.5 percent fats (including 8 percent saturated fats) and 15.2 percent protein, the scientists explain. Carbohydrate intake was highest in countries such as China, South Asia and Africa. The most fat-containing diet, on the other hand, was in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, the experts add.
A low-fat diet is promoted in many countries
The current focus on promoting a low-fat diet ignores the fact that most people in low and middle income countries consume a lot of carbohydrates, which is associated with negative health effects, explains author Dr. Mahshid Dehghan from McMaster University.
Guidelines should be revised in some countries
In low- and middle-income countries, where food energy is sometimes more than 65 percent carbohydrate, guidelines should focus their attention on reducing carbohydrate intake rather than promoting reducing fat intake. Saturated fats, which are typically found in animal products such as milk, cheese and meat, have so far been generally regarded as unhealthy and harmful to the heart and arteries.
What health problems did you experience during the study?
A total of 5,796 participants died during the study and 1,649 deaths were caused by cardiac and arterial diseases, the researchers explain. The doctors recorded a total of 2,143 heart attacks and 2,234 strokes. (as)