While the low-fat diet craze led some doctors to worry that Americans would instead start eating too many carbohydrates, a new study suggests that eating low-fat doesn’t have to increase carbohydrate-fueled health risks.
Instead, if extra carbohydrates are part of a diet plan that includes more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, the risk of diabetes – the biggest related health concern — could actually drop, at least in older women, according to the findings.
However, a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet could create problems in people who already have diabetes, researchers caution.
“Generally when people reduce the fat in the diet they replace it with carbohydrates,” study author Dr. James Shikany told Reuters Health. “There was some concern that the increased carbohydrate intake might lead to if not increased diabetes itself…changes that over time could lead to diabetes.”
“We had been telling women to decrease their fat intake for a long time and we really didn’t know the possible effects this would have” on diabetes, added Shikany, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The results suggest that balancing both diabetes and other disease risks requires considering the kinds of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins we eat, researchers said, rather than just cutting back on one food group and eating more of another.
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