“Cut out the fat if you want to be fit!” Isn’t this what you have been hearing all your life? But did you know that branding all fats as ‘bad for your health’ is a myth that needs to be busted. While it’s true that too much fat is unhealthy, going to the other extreme isn’t advisable either. A new international study by Lancet covering 135,000 people across 18 countries validates this point. According to the study, eating a high amount of fat (at least 35% of our daily energy needs) lowers the risk of an early death. On the other hand, a diet which is in high in carbohydrates (60% or more of daily energy needs) is linked to higher mortality.
According to Mahshid Dehghan, the lead author of this new study, “A decrease in fat intake automatically led to an increase in carbohydrate consumption.”
She adds “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.”
Here are three simple learnings from these study to minimize the risk of an early death.
Among all the type of fats, high quality saturated fats are the healthiest. Not all fats are good though. Trans fats (such as the ones found in hydrogenated oils or fast food like burger and fries) are known to clog arteries. And it is best to stay away from them.
In the study mentioned above, people who consumed three or four servings of fruits and vegetables saw the lowest risk of death. To be specific, these people included 375 to 500 grams of fruits, vegetables and legumes a day in their diet. These findings are not surprising. Several studies in the past have shown that these healthy foods decrease the risk of heart diseases and early deaths.
For most of us, carbohydrates form a major part of our diets. We cannot imagine our lives without foods like pasta, white bread, rice and oats. However, these foods are very low in nutritional value. Sugars, syrups and sweeteners, candies, granola bars, cookies & cakes are some more examples of foods with high carbohydrate content. Substitute carbs with legumes like beans, black beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas and black-eyed peas. They will keep you full for long and do wonders for your health.
Check out this useful video for more tips on How to Eat Right.
At Sepalika, we have been staunch supporters of a Low-Carb High Fat (LCHF). The study goes on to prove something we have been saying all along – our bodies need good fats in the right proportion. Low fat foods are not healthy and can lead to serious long-term health consequences. The preferred ratio of saturated:monunsaturated:polyunsaturated fats in a regular diet is 6:4:1.
We follow the Weston Price Diet where we would like people to ideally get 11 tablespoons of good fats per day. This translates to 160 grams or 60% of calorie intake, assuming an average intake of 2400 calories per day. Out of these, 6 tablespoons should be of high quality saturated fats. Good sources of saturated fats are butter, coconut oil , ghee, animal fats cooked with meat etc. Next, we recommend 4 tablespoons of monounsaturated fats every day (found in peanut oil & sesame oil.) However, these oils need to be cold-pressed and not heat or chemical extracted. Because these processes result in a loss of valuable nutrients from these oils. Finally, we recommend 1 tablespoon of polyunsaturated fats (Cod liver oil, flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, etc.) every day.
Do you have any interesting experiences to share on switching to a Low-Carb-High-Fat diet? And how has it impacted your health? We look forward to hearing from you.