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It is well established that what we eat plays a major role in our health and wellbeing, with some foods known to lower or raise your risk of various conditions.
However, diet could be even more impactful than that, even affecting how long we live.
According to a new study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, a specific diet could lower your risk of mortality by 18 percent.
Scientists from universities in China and the US worked together to establish that a healthy low-fat diet was key to living longer.
As part of their research a healthy low fat diet was classed as one low in saturated fat, high in high-quality carbohydrates and high in plant protein.
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A total of 371,159 participants – who were all considered to be in good health – were followed over a period of roughly 23 years.
They were also asked to fill out a 124-item food questionnaire to gauge what kind of diet they ate.
In the follow-up period more than 165,000 participants died.
But the mortality rate was 18 percent lower among those who mainly ate the healthy low-fat diet compared to those with eating patterns that least resembled the healthy low-fat diet.
They also compared a healthy low-carbohydrate diet and an unhealthy low-carb diet, but found only a slightly lower mortality rate between the two.
Speaking to Today.com , lead study author Yimin Zhao from Peking University’s School of Public Health explained: “Following [a] healthy low-fat diet with minimal intake of saturated fat can be an effective approach to promoting healthy ageing among middle-aged and older individuals.
“The results from our study suggest that both fat quantity and quality are important determinants of health effects in middle-aged and older people.
“We recommend that people should limit fat intake, even if they are trying to only consume healthy fat.”
High-quality carbohydrates, according to Zhao, include foods such as whole grains, fruit, legumes and non-starchy vegetables.
And plant protein can be found in many meat-alternative staples like lentils, chickpeas and tofu.
In comparison the unhealthy low-fat diet in the study was classed as one low in unsaturated fat, high in low-quality carbohydrates and high in animal protein.
While the healthy low-carb diet in the study was one low in low-quality carbohydrate, and high in unsaturated fat and plant protein.
The unhealthy low-carb diet was low in high-quality carbohydrate, and high in saturated fat and animal protein.