Cutting down on saturated fat can shorten your life, study shows

Barsaba Taglieri
Agosto 29, 2017

Higher levels of consumption of fats of all kind reduced the overall risk of death by 23%, stroke risk by 18% and non-heart related mortality by 30%.

More study will also be needed to figure out exactly how much fat and how much carbohydrates should be recommended for optimal health.

Carbohydrate intake was highest in China, South Asia and Africa, while people who ate the most fat lived in North America, Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia.

Researchers also found that dietary fats, including saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturatedfats, are not associated with major cardiovascular diseases or increased risk of heart attacks.

Mahshid Dehghan, a nutritional epidemiology expert at McMaster University in Hamilton, and her team were set to present the results of their study at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday.

"This target is likely more affordable and achievable, especially in low and middle income countries where the costs of fruits and vegetables are relatively high".

Lead author Dr. Mahshid Dehghan says the healthiest diet would be made up of 50 to 55 per cent carbs and 35 per cent total fat, including both saturated and unsaturated fats.

Global dietary guidelines should change to suggest people can eat more fat than previously thought, with a view to preventing overconsumption of carbohydrates, according to a new worldwide study led by Canadian researchers.

Saturated fat is typically found in animal products such as butter, cheese and red meat.

But the study found that higher consumption of saturated fat reduced the risk of dying by 14% and the risk of stroke by 21%.

A global study of 135,000 people reveals that people who eat the least fat have the highest mortality rates.

They found that LDL cholesterol (the basis of many dietary guidelines) is not reliable in predicting effects of saturated fat on future cardiovascular events.

However, the Pure researchers found that higher intakes of saturated fat also raised levels of "good" cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which protects arteries.

Dr Dehghan said: "Limiting total fat consumption is unlikely to improve health in populations, and a total fat intake of about 35% of energy with concomitant lowering of carbohydrate intake may lower risk of total mortality".

British nutrition expert Prof Susan Jebb, from Oxford University, pointed out that United Kingdom health guidelines already recommended obtaining up to 35% of dietary energy from fat, and an average of 50% from carbohydrates.

"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", Dehghan said in a news release.

She said: "This paper considers the relationship between diet and health outcomes for predominately low and middle income countries".

'A high carbohydrate diet - greater than 60 per cent of energy - is associated with higher risk of mortality.

Public Health England recommend adults get up to 35 per cent of their energy intake from all types of fat and 50 per cent from carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta and sugar. "And increasing consumption of carbohydrates results in higher risk of mortality".

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