How much fat is still healthy? And how many carbohydrates fit into a healthy diet? A study by Canadian scientists answers these questions.
That’s the optimal amount of fat and the optimal amount of carbohydrates
Hardly anyone knows their way around the labyrinth of contrasting forms of nutrition. Low carb was the ultimate for a long time, but now the trend is towards even fewer carbohydrates, namely ketogenic nutrition.
Nonetheless, many people do very well even on a relatively high-carb diet, in fact, even serious illnesses can be cured, even when eating more carbs than the low-carb and keto rules allow. Why is it? And what is the optimal amount of fat and carbohydrates that you can eat with a clear conscience?
It is best to choose the middle path
Scientists from McMaster University in Canada analyzed data from a study involving 135,000 people from 18 countries around the world. The result will be enormously disappointing for many. Because once again it was shown that the middle way seems to be the best solution – at least for cardiovascular health and life expectancy.
According to this study, it is, therefore, better to eat moderate amounts of each nutrient – i.e. fats and carbohydrates – than a particularly large amount of one of them and a particularly small amount of the other.
Carbs: 50 percent is ideal
The number of carbohydrates consumed by the participants varied between 46 and 77 percent of the daily calorie intake (= total daily energy intake). The higher this percentage was, the higher the risk of heart attack and stroke, and also of premature death.
With 50 percent carbohydrates you should be just right because even fewer carbohydrates would not have shown any further advantages, the researchers at McMaster University wrote. However, this amount of carbohydrate is only healthy if it is consumed in the form of healthy carbohydrates, i.e. in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products.
Choose only healthy carbohydrates
On the other hand, the number of carbohydrates mentioned was unhealthy if you ate it in the form of white bread and other cereal products made from white flour, if you used white rice instead of whole grain rice and if you also ate products rich in sugar.
- You can read about which carbohydrates are good and which are bad here: carbohydrates can be healthy, but they can also be harmful
- You can also read here that saturated fats do not really pose a health risk:
- Saturated fats are not the cause of arteriosclerosis
Here’s why fish isn’t really an option these days: How mercury turns fish into a health hazard
Note from the ZDG editors: But actual low-carb eaters were apparently not represented in this study at all, since they only consume up to about 30 percent of their daily calorie intake with carbohydrates (usually less), but in the study, the lowest amount of carbohydrates was 46 percent lay. The study, therefore, does not rule out the possibility that low-carb diets could also have comparable health effects.
It can be a little more fat!
Somewhat more surprising, however, were the results on the subject of fat. People who ate 35 percent of their daily calorie intake from fat lived longer than those who limited their fat intake to 10 percent.
But you might think you have to be careful with saturated fats. After all, these – e.g. e.g. coconut oil, butter, etc. – have an enormously bad reputation as they are said to be harmful to cardiovascular health. But far from it.
The official advice is not to consume more than 10 percent of your total energy intake in the form of saturated fat. However, the present study found that under no circumstances should you eat less, since the intake of less than 7 percent saturated fat could even be harmful.
Replace some carbohydrates with healthy, high-fat foods
So you could replace part of the most excessively consumed carbohydrates with fats. According to the Canadian study, foods with polyunsaturated fatty acids such as walnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, and fatty fish are ideal here.
How many carbohydrates and how many fats are healthy?
In summary, the question of how many carbohydrates and how many fats are still healthy resulted in the following:
- 50 percent of the total energy intake can be healthy (!) carbohydrates
- 35 percent of the total energy intake can be high-quality, high-fat foods, e.g. B.
- Nuts or oilseeds
- You should consume no less than 10 percent of saturated fats (e.g. in the form of coconut oil)
The authors of the study even recommend that global dietary guidelines should be reconsidered in light of the study results.
Note: These results were based on an observational study, so researchers cannot directly link cause and effect. You should adapt these study results to your own personal health situation. If you have health issues, talk to your doctor about how best to interpret the results for you.