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A recent study, published in PLOS ONE journal, shows carbs are way more dangerous than saturated fats for your heart and weight. It seems that excessive intake of carbohydrates generates within human body a considerable amount of palmitoleic acid, a fatty acid, which leads to increased blood glucose and insulin levels, a high blood pressure and weight gain.
The new study, conducted by Jeff Volek PhD, professor at Ohio State University, and his team found out that low-fat diets don’t really work, and people should opt for low-carb diets instead, if they want to see some positive results.
For decades, nutrition experts said you should cut on your daily saturated fats intake if you wanted to stay healthy. The recommended intake by the Heart Foundation is less than 7% of total energy. Saturated fat was believed to increase the bad cholesterol (LDL), thus leading to hearth diseases and extra pounds.
In 2011, the Australian “National Nutrition Survey” found out what were the three most popular types of food stuffed with saturated fat: dairy products (including ice-cream); biscuits, cakes and pastries; processed meat and poultry. For the common US diets we could add up – Pizza, burgers and French fries.
In the new report, Dr Volek said saturated fats weren’t responsible for health and weight problems, but the carbohydrates were, since the latter are “the primary regulator of what our bodies save in terms of fat”. Additionally, the fatty acid named palmitoleic acid associated with carbohydrates is linked to “unhealthy metabolism of carbohydrates that can promote disease.”
An increased palmitoleic acid level within study participants’ bodies showed their bodies converted the excessive amounts of carbohydrates into fats, i.e. cholesterol. But on a low-carb diet their bodies preferentially burned saturated fat, Dr Volek explained.
“We had people eat two times more saturated fat than they had been eating before entering the study, yet when we measured saturated fat in their blood, it went down in the majority of people,”
the lead author of the study said about his low-carb subjects.
By the end of the research, participants saw considerable improvement in their overall health condition – reduced amounts of glucose in their blood, and an average of 22 pounds weight loss over four and a half months period just by reducing the carbohydrate daily usual intake.
Dr Volek’s study concludes carbohydrates, like sugar and starches, should be replaced with protein and fat, if we really want to lose weight. A low-carb diet helps not only losing some extra pounds, but it also prevents diabetes, high blood pressure and triglycerides’ increase. Carbohydrates also raise the good cholesterol (HDL), and improve the bad cholesterol (LDL), keeping hearth and circulatory system healthy for a long time.