Low-carb diets have become one of the most popular ways to lose weight. They are also believed to have health benefits and reduce the risk of a number of diseases. Australian scientists, over the years observing thousands of women, have found that moderate consumption of carbohydrates is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and saturated fat is associated with a decrease in the occurrence of diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Details – in the material “Izvestia”.
How carbohydrates affect the heart
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. And malnutrition is considered one of the reasons for their occurrence – due to the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia.
Scientists from Monash University, the largest medical research center in Australia, decided to find out how dietary habits actually affect the state of a woman’s heart. They followed 9,899 women for 15 years, with an average age of about 52. The research results were published in British Medical Journal.
The researchers found that the increase in carbohydrate intake in the subjects was associated with significant reductions in the incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.
Photo: RIA Novosti / Nikolai Khizhnyak
In addition, in those women in whose diet carbohydrates were 41–44% of the total calories consumed, had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease compared to women who consumed less than 37% of their energy in the form of carbohydrates.
How Bad Saturated Fats Are
In the study, Australian researchers observed that increased consumption of saturated fat was not associated with cardiovascular disease or mortality, but instead correlated with lower rates of diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
These data are at odds with current ideas about the health risks of saturated fats, which are found in large quantities in palm and coconut oils, red meat, and dairy products. The results of the study suggest that consumption of such fats is not significantly associated with all-cause mortality or cardiovascular disease.
Photo: TASS / URA.RU / Anna Mayorova
Scientists have not yet undertaken to explain the reason for this discrepancy in the data. There is speculation that the beneficial effects of dietary fiber, which are known to help prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries, played a role.
What diet is needed for a woman’s heart
– The controversy over the best diet to prevent heart disease continues, says Sara Zaman is a former professor at Monash University and now an associate professor at the University of Sydney. – A low-fat diet has historically been the basis of recommendations for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. But the main problem is that many of the trials were predominantly male, or there was no separation of analyzes by gender.
She notes that further research is needed for more accurate dietary recommendations, and with a separation of the subjects by gender.
The author of the study, M.D. Sarah Gribbin, confirms that the results and conclusions drawn from them are only a hypothesis and require additional research, taking into account gender.
What carbohydrates and fats are good for
Aitne Cahill, food specialist for the Australian Heart Foundation, one of the study sponsors, warns that “not all carbohydrates are the same, and different fats have different effects on heart health.”
– Quality carbohydrate foods such as vegetables and whole grains, including whole grain breads, cereals and pasta, are good for heart health, while white breads, cookies, cakes and baked goods can increase the risk of heart disease– she emphasized.
Cahill recommends that women include lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains in their diets, as well as sources of heart-healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and oils, as well as a variety of healthy proteins, especially seafood, beans and lentils, eggs and dairy products.
How to cheer up and survive the cold
Vegetables, cereals, dairy products are especially useful in the autumn, in conditions of a lack of heat and sunlight.
So, therapist Timur Asanov advises to develop the habit of eating porridge at least once a day, preferably for breakfast.
“The diet should be based on vegetable dishes, especially in the fall there is a large selection of seasonal vegetables that are inexpensive,” he says. – Don’t forget about the fruit.
The lack of vitamins in the cold season, in his opinion, will help to replenish foods containing carbohydrates and proteins.
— To help the body cope with changing climatic conditions, you need to eat a balanced diet, which must contain proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber., – confirms Andrey Tyazhelnikov, chief freelance specialist in primary health care for the adult population of the Moscow Department of Health. – Winter meals really should be more filling and nutritious.
Doctors emphasize that it is impossible to completely abandon carbohydrates for the sake of a slim figure: this is fraught with problems with both physical and mental health. With their lack in the body, the brain and nervous system are affected first of all – a person’s mood deteriorates, there is a loss of strength, a slow reaction, and memory impairment. In addition, the metabolism slows down as the body tries to store as much energy as possible.