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Different types of fat have different effects on our bodies
Diet has a big impact on our health. Some foods contain such unhealthy ingredients that regular consumption can have a negative impact on our life expectancy. For example, the consumption of saturated fatty acids leads to an increased risk of dying earlier in life, researchers have now found.
There have long been contradictory statements about whether butter and especially the saturated fatty acids it contains are unhealthy for the human body. U.S. scientists from the acclaimed Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health have now found that saturated fat reduces consumer life expectancy. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "JAMA Internal Medicine".
New study examines data from approximately 126,000 subjects
For their new study, the researchers analyzed the data from around 126,000 people. These were observed over a period of three decades to assess the effects of their diet on human health and lifespan, the experts say. The researchers explain that the new study is the most detailed study to date on the effects of different types of fats on our health.
Older and new study results contradict each other
The results of the new study contradict those of an older study by the British National Obesity Forum. The result was that people can still eat more fat, but should avoid carbohydrates. However, Public Health England's dietary guidelines state that people should eat less butter and red meat, the scientists report.
Trans fats from butter and red meat lead to higher mortality rates
The study now published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that eating so-called trans fats and saturated fats - including butter and red meat - leads to higher mortality rates compared to the same number of calories from carbohydrates. This is very worrying, since previous studies had already found that unhealthy trans fatty acids are found in many foods.
Risk of premature death can be reduced significantly
The death rates are reduced by 11 to 19 percent if unhealthy fats made from butter, lard and red meat are replaced by unsaturated fats made from olive oil, rapeseed oil and soybean oil, the experts say. Replacing only five percent of your calories from saturated fats (about 15 grams) with the same amount of unsaturated fat will reduce your risk of premature death by about 27 percent.
Changing your diet also reduces neurodegenerative diseases
Unsaturated fatty acids not only reduced the risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases and cancer, but also neurodegenerative diseases. These include Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and some respiratory diseases, the scientists explain. Especially in the case of cardiovascular diseases, the current results confirm the results of older studies, which had already shown that polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce our risk of acute heart attacks.
Replace saturated fats and trans fats with unsaturated fats
There has been great confusion among both the biomedical and the general public about the health effects of certain types of fat on our bodies, explains lead author Dong Wang of the Institute of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. The results of the study show important advantages of unsaturated fats, especially when they replace saturated fats and so-called trans fats.
A Mediterranean diet can protect our health
These new results are in line with current public health recommendations in the UK. For example, other countries also support the concept of a healthy Mediterranean diet that is rich in unsaturated fatty acids from plants, fish and olive oil, the doctors say. Nutritional advice in a number of current books and magazines has recently advised replacing the consumption of vegetable oils and other products that are rich in unsaturated fatty acids with saturated fats from animal products. However, this advice has now proven to be wrong, Wang says. The new results should now be used to adjust the dietary recommendations accordingly, so that people do not make mistakes in their diet that later ruin their health. (as)