A diet light on fats but heavy on carbs could lead to a sooner-than-expected death via stroke.
A diet high in fat sounds counterintuitive to what many people believe to be healthy. Eating low-fat sounds, well, self-explanatory, and carbohydrates are needed to provide the energy necessary for burning them off through exercise. But a new study, published in the journal The Lancet, found that eating more fats is actually healthier than ingesting a bunch of carbs.
The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology study looked at just over 135,000 people across 18 countries, ranging in age from 35 to 70 years old. The volunteers kept track of their own diets and answered food questionnaires for about seven years, according to STAT News.
Through the data, researchers saw that people with the highest level of fat in their diets — where it made up 35% of their daily calories — were 23% less likely to have died over the course of the study than their low-fat counterparts who consumed only 10% of their daily calories through fats. Although each group's risk of developing cardiovascular disease was the same, the high-fat group was less likely to suffer a stroke.
"These results point to the fact that human biology is very similar across the globe," Harvard School of Public Health doctor Eric Rimm told the news site. "It's not healthy to eat highly processed carbohydrates no matter where you live."
Looking at carbs, the scenario was turned on its head. A high-carb diet lead to a 28% increased risk of dying prematurely when compared to those who laid off the bread, pasta and pizza, according to The New York Times. But, a high-carb diet showed no certain path to cardiovascular death.
It should be noted that the research is not telling people to start devouring unhealthy, fatty foods; it suggests instead that healthy fats — like those found in avocado and salmon — should be incorporated into a healthy diet.