If all the advice on how much fats, carbs, fruits and vegetables should be in your diet is confusing, findings from a new study aren't going to help.
Researchers now say fats may not be as bad as thought, carbs may be worse, and as far as fruits, veggies and beans go, the more is better approach isn't a hard and fast rule anymore.
International researchers with the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study followed the diets of 135,335 people ages 35 to 70 years in 18 countries – including high-income, medium-income and low-income nations – between 2003 and 2013. They looked at the association between cardiovascular disease and death and intake of carbohydrates and fat. The results were published Tuesday in the journal Lancet.
Among the subject group, researchers analyzed 5,796 deaths and 4,784 major cardiovascular disease events, and found that those whose fat intake accounted for 35 percent of their daily calories were 23 percent less likely to die than those who consumed only 10 percent of their calories in fat. Strokes were also less common among those with a high fat intake.
However, subjects who ate about 77 percent of daily calories in carbs were 28 percent more likely to have died than those with the lowest carbohydrate intake.
"These results point to the fact that human biology is very similar across the globe," Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told the online newsletter Stat. "It's not healthy to eat highly processed carbohydrates no matter where you live."
In a related study on fruits, veggies and legumes, the new findings challenged current guidelines. Researchers found that those who ate three to four servings a day were no more likely to die than those who ate eight servings or more.