Picking the right diet for you can be a minefield—from low-fat restrictions to veganism, there’s an abundance of options on offer. Yet knowing what’s right and what’s wrong can be difficult. We generally assume that eating foods high in fats is bad for us and staying clear of fatty foods is the healthier option, right? Wrong. According to Cosmopolitan, eating a low-fat diet could actually raise the risk of early death by up to a quarter.
The Lancet study monitored more than 135,000 people from 18 different countries and discovered that those who ate a diet high in fat (including both saturated and unsaturated fat) were at lower risk of mortality at 23%. The study went onto look at the participants' intake of carbohydrates, particularly foods like fizzy drinks and processed meals. They saw a 28% higher risk of early death along with the higher carbohydrate intake.
According the author of the study, Mahshid Dehghan from McMaster University in Canada, “Low-and middle-income countries, where diets sometimes consist of more than 65% of energy from carbohydrates, should refocus their attention towards reducing carbohydrate intake, instead of focusing on reducing fats.”
It also suggested that the best diets will include a balance of both carbs, and fats. The study goes against the NHS-recommended guidelines of opting for lower-fat foods, instead recommending we eat a diet with approximately 55% of fats and 35% of carbohydrates. But we’re not suggesting you go and increase your fat intake, nor are we suggesting you cut out carbs—because that would be criminal. Finding a healthy balance is key.
It’s also important to remember that the study did not take into account trans fats, as those are generally processed and can contribute to diseases like cardiovascular disease.
It could be that we need to reconsider how we approach our food in general and understand that those foods high in fat aren’t the devil. Those with a diet rich in butter, cheese and meat statistically had longer lives than those who cut back on such fats.
Take avocado, for example—high in healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals, avocados are the perfect example of a food that's high in fat and great for us. Our diet should include a balance of carbohydrates and fats, which this study definitively proves.