Sunday, December 24, 2017 by Rita Winters
Since the 1970s, we’ve been conditioned to believe that dietary fats cause heart disease and it is what makes us fat. However, it’s eating too many carbohydrates that cause many diseases, as is evident in the obesity and diabetes epidemic of our time. In addition to that, a study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet reported that people with high-carbohydrate diets have a higher risk of early mortality.
The findings of the study showed people who regularly included high-carbohydrate foods in their diet had a 28 percent increased risk of dying, as compared to other people who had a balanced diet.
Some critics of the study state that higher mortality rates may be due to a socioeconomic factor, and not just people’s decisions in choosing their food. People tend to eat more carbohydrates if they cannot afford meat. Carbohydrates give them a sense of “fullness” to compensate for their lack of protein, which gives real contentment. Therefore, the necessity to include a lot of carbohydrates in one’s daily diet is not a choice but may be due to the lack of finances to purchase healthier foods.
However, one may interpret the basis for including a lot of carbohydrates in the daily nutritional intake; it is still understood that carbohydrates pose a higher health risk than fats do. In light of this, researchers suggest a reduction of carbohydrates in favor of all kinds of fat, including saturated fats. They suggest a 35 percent daily intake of various fats while the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating polyunsaturated fats up to 15 percent daily.
Bread, rice, and pasta don’t seem harmful at first sight, but how it is metabolized in the body poses a serious health risk. Carbohydrates are metabolized into glucose (a type of sugar), which the body uses as a source of energy. However, with a sedentary lifestyle, glucose is not used for energy and is stored in the body as fat. Too much body fat results in becoming overweight, and being overweight may lead to obesity, a fatal condition. Furthermore, obesity is also associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and type-2 diabetes.
Fats are good for your body, especially the unsaturated ones from plants. Unsaturated fats have two types: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats can be found in olives, peanuts, canola oil, avocados, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. Polyunsaturated fats are found in sunflower seeds, corn, soybeans, flaxseed, walnuts, and fish. Omega-3 fats are a type of polyunsaturated fat which can be found in fish and other aqueous animals. These good types of fat can help lower the risk of chronic diseases and premature death.
Saturated fats are fats derived from animals found in beef, cheese, and even ice cream. Some plants provide saturated fats as well, such as coconut oil and palm oil. The AHA recommends no more than seven percent of saturated fats daily. Saturated fats may affect cholesterol levels, but do not cause heart disease, as stated in a 2010 study of 347,747 individuals.
To sum it up, carbohydrates may taste good and provides fuel for our body’s energy, but too much of it has been shown to cause health problems. It is always good to balance your daily nutritional intake by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, and grain-based food to keep your health in check. Moreover, having an active lifestyle will help burn those unwanted carbohydrates and glucose in your body that may contribute to morbidity and an earlier death.
Follow more news on the science of food at FoodScience.news.