Low fat diet? Low carb diet? What are we supposed to do? It’s quite frustrating that in the field of nutrition there have been so many contrary opinions over the last few decades about how we’re supposed to be eating for optimal health.
One thing is for sure, people are different. What works for some may not work for others. Genetics also makes up a big part of your life expectancy and quality of life as you age. Access to adequate nutrition, sanitation, and medical care and antibiotics are also major improvements that living in the first world offers our health.
But what are we supposed to be eating? Depends on what headline you read and when you read it.
The Lancet published a large study last month evaluating the diet and life expectancies of over 135,000 people living in 18 different countries. The study looked at mortality, major cardiac events and stroke.
What the study found was the higher the intake of carbs, the higher the risk of all cause mortality (death from any reason), though no higher risk of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, fat intake was associated with a lower risk of all cause mortality and also had no effect in risk of cardiovascular disease.
Adding all the other data that has been growing over the years fills in the picture. With the push for low-fat diets, many people have greatly increased their intake of processed carbs. There is no doubt in the minds of any nutritionist or cardiologist that everyone would be better off with a lot less processed food. This study does confirm that added sugar, sweetened beverages, desserts and processed carbs should be the first to go from your diet. Adding in fats (butter, avocado, full fat dairy, etc) is a healthy replacement that will also help curb hunger and apparently give you a longer lifespan.
As we head into the holiday season, keep this all in mind as we’re all bombarded with sweets!
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