Mod­er­ate con­sump­tion of fats, car­bo­hy­drates best for health: Study

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An in­ter­na­tional study led by a group of re­searchers from the Pop­u­la­tion Health Re­search In­sti­tute (PHRI) of McMaster Univer­sity and Hamil­ton Health Sci­ences in Hamil­ton, Canada, sug­gests that a diet con­sist­ing of a mod­er­ate con­sump­tion of fat, fruits and veg­eta­bles, cou­pled with avoid­ance of high lev­els of car­bo­hy­drates, is linked with a de­creased risk of death.

“Our study found the low­est risk of death in those who con­sumed three to four serv­ings, or the equiv­a­lent to 375 to 500 grams, of fruits, veg­eta­bles and legumes per day, with lit­tle ad­di­tional ben­e­fit for in­take be­yond that range,” said Vic­to­ria Miller, a McMaster doc­toral stu­dent and a lead au­thor of the pa­per.

Also, con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, con­sum­ing a higher amount of fat (about 35 per cent of en­ergy) is as­so­ci­ated with a lower risk of death com­pared to lower in­takes. A diet high in car­bo­hy­drates (of more than 60 per cent of en­ergy) is re­lated to higher mor­tal­ity, al­though not with the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

“A de­crease in fat in­take au­to­mat­i­cally led to an in­crease in car­bo­hy­drate con­sump­tion and our find­ings may ex­plain why cer­tain pop­u­la­tions such as South Asians, who do not con­sume much fat but con­sume a lot of car­bo­hy­drates, have higher mor­tal­ity rates,” said Mahshid De­hghan, an­other lead au­thor for the study and an in­ves­ti­ga­tor at PHRI..

The find­ings of the study were pub­lished in two re­ports in The Lancet. The data was taken from the Prospec­tive Ur­ban Ru­ral Epi­demi­ol­ogy (PURE) study, which fol­lowed more than 135,000 peo­ple from 18 low-in­come, mid­dle-in­come and high-in­come coun­tries. The study asked peo­ple about their diet and fol­lowed them for an av­er­age of seven-and-a-half years.

“Mod­er­a­tion in most as­pects of diet is to be pre­ferred, as op­posed to very low or very high in­takes of most nu­tri­ents,” con­cluded Salim Yusuf, prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor of the study and the di­rec­tor of PHRI.

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