As the carb and fat debate rages on—especially with the rise of paleo and ketogenic diets—it’s not hard to get confused on which strategy is actually best for you and your health. But, new research has just surfaced that suggests that carbs, not fats, cause serious damage to your heart and overall wellbeing.
According to research published in The Lancet, researchers followed the dietary intake of more than 130,000 people aged 35 to 70 across 18 countries. After 7.5 years they found that nearly 1,600 died from cardiovascular disease. When assessing the link between diet and death, the study discovered that diets with a high amount of carbohydrates (diets where 77 percent of a person’s daily calories came from carbs) resulted in a 28 percent higher risk of an early death, as opposed to diets where 46 percent of calories came from carbs. On the flip side, people whose diets were 35 percent fat had a 23 percent chance of a lower risk of death.
So what does this all mean? It might be time to reevaluate your entire nutritional menu.
“Dietary guidelines need to be reconsidered based on new evidence,” said lead investigator and study researcher Mahshid Dehghan, PhD, in a press conference. “We are saying: more relaxation of the current restriction on the fats and more emphasis on [lowering] carbohydrate when it is high.”
But that doesn’t mean you should go totally carb-free (because, bread … and because we need carbs)—adding carbs to your diet via vegetables (like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and bananas) is still a doctor-approved strategy. Neither should you go high fat.
In fact, the ideal balance, says study researcher Dr. Andrew Mente, is to maintain a diet with about 35 percent of calories coming from fats, and healthy fats at that. Think: avocados, salmon, nuts, olive oil, aka, the Mediterranean diet in a nutshell. As if we needed more proof that the Mediterranean way of eating is truly the way to go!