CarbsIn a recent study, researchers found that a high-fat diet may reduce mortality. According to research presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s annual meeting and published in The Lancet, data from 135,000 people in 18 countries over seven years found high fat intake was associated with a lower risk of death, while high carbohydrate consumption increased it. The study also found eating fruits, vegetables, and legumes reduced mortality risks, but the benefit capped off at three to four servings daily. So what does this all mean? Well, a hamburger may be OK to eat, and adding lettuce and tomato to the burger is still good for you, but an excess of white flour burger buns may boost your risk of dying early.

The research team tracked the participants’ health for about seven years on average, with follow-up visits at least every three years. The investigators found that high-carbohydrate diets are common, with more than half of the people deriving 70 percent of their daily calories from carbs.

Lead author Mahshid Dehghan, an investigator with the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Ontario, stated that people with a high fat intake — about 35 percent of their daily diet — had a 23 percent lower risk of early death and 18 percent lower risk of stroke compared to people who ate less fat.  The researchers also noted that a very low intake of saturated fats (below 3 percent of daily diet) was associated with a higher risk of death in the study, compared to diets containing up to 13 percent daily.  At the same time, high-carb diets — containing an average 77 percent carbohydrates — were associated with a 28 percent increased risk of death versus low-carb diets, Dehghan said.

The study was scheduled to be presented Tuesday at the European Society of Cardiology annual meeting in Barcelona, Spain. The research was being published online as two studies on Aug. 29 in The Lancet.