Study finds moderate fat consumption may lower risk of death

New research bucks decades old advice when it comes to fat consumption.

Study gives fat a healthy tick

Contrary to decades of dietary advice, consuming moderate amounts of fat appears to reduce the risk of premature death, a major global study has found.

Researchers studied more than 135,000 people across five continents and the results showed that when fat consumption represented about 35 per cent of a daily calorie intake it was associated with a lower risk of death, compared to lower fat intakes.

Researchers also found that dietary fats, including saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, are not associated with major cardiovascular diseases or increased risk of heart attacks.

However, a diet high in carbohydrates, in which carbs represent more than 60 per cent of a person’s calorie intake, was linked to higher mortality rates.

Overall, the study showed that avoiding a high-carb diet and consuming a moderate amount of fat, along with fruits and vegetables, can lower the risk of premature death.

The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study  led by researchers at the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences followed more than 135,000 people from 18 countries and various economic and cultural backgrounds for an average of seven-and-a-half years.

The PURE study also found that:

  • People who ate three to four servings (between 375 and 500 grams) of fruits, vegetables and legumes per day had the lowest risk of premature death.
  • Although most dietary guidelines recommend a minimum of five daily servings of fruits and veggies, researchers say higher intakes did not result in many additional health benefits.

The researchers point out that, while this may appear surprising to some, these new results are consistent with several observational studies and randomised controlled trials conducted in Western countries during the past two decades.

Mahshid Dehghan, the lead author of the PURE study said that for decades, dietary guidelines have focused on reducing total fat consumption to below 30 per cent of a person’s daily calorie intake.

“A decrease in fat intake automatically led to an increase in carbohydrate consumption and 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,” Ms Dehghan said in a news release.

What do you think? Will this study encourage you to decrease your intake of carbohydrates and worry less about your fat intake?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    31st Aug 2017
    The constant evolving attitude to diet confirms my opinion ... They haven't got a clue. In the 60s we ate more fat , the food taste better and we were thinner. For years fat was the problem ... Which it wasn't and we all got very fat. I generally ignore them and I'm not fat at all, I'll wait for science to catch up with me.
    31st Aug 2017
    Tib I think the science is already there. The real issue is that practitioners follow guidelines and these guidelines are laid down by government bodies. There has to be wide ranging consultation in order to change national guidelines and this is a slow process. Eventually new guidelines are released and by that time the science has moved on again and so the play catch-up continues.

    We are all advocates for our own health and so like you, I take responsibility for mine and do what I think is right for me.
    31st Aug 2017
    I agree , info from many gov bodies is completely out of date. We are often told if we want to be healthy we have to eat healthy but all the advice is different. I know many people like myself would like them to get their act together.
    31st Aug 2017
    My body tells me what it needs by making me want things.

    I've always liked a bit of fat on my stake & salad, & you can keep your cereal for your own breakfast.

    If people spent more time listening to their own body, & less listening to nutritional "experts" they would be a lot healthier.
    31st Aug 2017
    What a misleading headline, is Ben suggesting that moderate fat consumption will make one immortal. From the moment of birth one thing is certain, even more certain than taxes, that eventually one will die. Please be more careful Ben.

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