By J.A. Giresi
We came across a new study published in September edition of The Lancet that may just shift how we eat altogether. A high-fat diet can increase your life span, but a high-carb diet will shorten it? Yes, according to researchers.
The study surveyed 135,335 individuals aged 35-70 across the globe, over a period of 7.4 years. The diets of each individual were recorded by using various questionnaires. Researchers were looking for total mortality based on cardiovascular episodes. Secondary outcomes could come by way of heart attack, stroke, cancer, etc.
What the researchers found is that a diet containing a high degree of fats (good fats, especially monounsaturated fat or polyunsaturated fats) can help you lead a longer and healthier lifestyle. For years, there have been questions about whether high fat intake was good for you at that level. The answer is a resounding yes!
During the study, the researchers tracked 5,796 deaths and 4,784 major cardiovascular disease events. Higher carb intake was associated with early death. Higher fat intake, with each type of fat being categorized, was attributed to a lower risk of death.
Woo-hoo! Let’s eat chips, dips, ice cream, nachos … hold up! Before you decide to go on a “free-for-all” with your diet, there are some things you must know. There are “good fats” like monounsaturated fats, for instance, found primarily in olive oil, nuts, avocados and fish. These fats are great for the cardiovascular system, the brain and the muscular/skeletal system. Then there are “bad fats.”
When we speak of “bad fats,” we’re talking mainly of “trans fat” and high degrees of “saturated fats.” It is these fats commonly found in snack foods. However, there are some healthy ways to get a snack fix without consuming the unhealthy fats. Nuts are terrific for a quick snack fix— especially almonds, cashews and pistachios— because not only will they give you a short protein boost, but they will also satiate your appetite.
If you like chips, make a healthier version using a sweet potato and extra-virgin-olive oil. You can even simulate sour cream and onion dip by using plain Greek yogurt and onion powder. If you don’t want to use onion powder, you can finely chop an onion and add sea salt. You can also use red potatoes. Not only do sweet potatoes and red potatoes have a low carb intake, but by soaking them overnight, you can also eliminate a huge portion of the starch. Extra-virgin olive oil is great for frying because of the monounsaturated fats in the oil, and better for you than vegetable oil. Plus, another recent study has shown that frequent use of extra-virgin olive oil can stave off Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
Avocados are terrific to eat in salads, as well as desserts. In fact, we recently obtained this recipe for an avocado-based macaroni and cheese. I was curious about this recipe, so I tried it— and it was delicious! Avocados are also great for baking. There are several recipes for avocado cakes and avocado brownies.
At FitnessRx, we have always recommended the Mediterranean Diet, which is composed primarily of fish, leafy greens, nuts, olive oil and yes, red wine. Most health professionals, including our own medical staff, have agreed that the Mediterranean Diet is best for anyone who is weight conscious, or just wants to live a healthier life in general.
Either way, this new study does allow for some interesting findings.