In the 50’s, we discovered that saturated fat was clogging our arteries, so we assumed too much fat was not good and we ate more carbs. Now, with the results of the PURE study, we see that getting energy from carbs may not be good and the fat we avoided may not be as bad as we thought.

The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study looked at 135,335 individuals from18 socioeconomically diverse countries. They were followed for a median of 7.4 years to evaluate the association between the intake of fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. There was an inverse association between higher fruit, vegetable, and legume intake and major cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, cardiovascular mortality, noncardiovascular mortality, and total mortality. The hazard ratio for total mortality was 0.78 for individuals having three to four servings per day compared with the control population, and there was no further decrease in risk seen with increased consumption. The study also showed a protective effect from all types of fat. Too much sugar is associated with elevated triglycerides, which are made by the liver to store unused carbs, and is the main cause of fatty liver. From the results of the study, it was concluded that increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, and legumes was associated with a lower risk of mortality, and the optimal number of servings appears to be three to four per day. This is equivalent to 375 to 500 grams per day.

Dehghan M, Mente A, Zhang X, et al. Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study [published online August 28, 2016]. Lancet. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)322523