We have known for decades now that the way we eat hugely influences our lives. Ignoring the new age senseless phrase that is “you are what you eat”, food is actually very important to your health. Even though we’ve known for some times that most fats are bad for you, a team of researchers from Boston revealed that polyunsaturated fats can actually reduce risk of death.
Nutritional experts have been warning the United States population for years about the dangers of saturated and trans fats and according to them, also about the dangers of not eating enough polyunsaturated fats.
But all the “eat healthy fats” advice was lost in the torrent of “don’t eat unhealthy fats” advice, PSAs, and campaigns that have taken over the nation for the past decade or so.
As it turns out, having a balanced diet of predominantly polyunsaturated fats and avoiding – although not entirely – unhealthy fats can lead to nearly one and a half million fewer death worldwide.
The study was an observational meta-analysis, meaning that it focused on data already collected instead of collecting new data, and that it only found a link between fats and health levels, not a cause and effect relationship.
However, after looking at extensive information about the diets of 186 countries, as well as at death rates from a 2010 study, and from other intensive researches on healthy and unhealthy fat intakes, the team of researchers came up with some pretty impressive numbers.
Before that, however, let’s talk a bit about each individual type of fat.
We all know the so called bad fats – saturated and trans. Saturated fats can be found in most meats and dairy products, while trans fats are generally found in processed, baked, and fried foods.
Both of these fats are bad for your cholesterol levels, increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease quite significantly.
Polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, are found in fish, as well as in a wide variety of nuts, beans and oils. Some of these foods are salmon, trout, herring, corn oil, sunflower oil and sunflower seeds, walnuts, soybeans, and even tofu.
Now, to get back to the numbers the researchers came up with.
The team deduced that over 700,000 annual deaths are caused by a lack of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats in people’s diets.
Meanwhile, another 250,000 deaths are caused by an increased intake of saturated fats, while yet another 537,000 deaths are attributed to a higher than average trans fat consumption.
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