The more carbs you eat, the higher the risk of heart disease, states leading cardiologist, Dr Salim Yusuf

By Benedict Jephcote
20th February 2017
In Depth
 
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A leading cardiologist, and former President of the World Heart Federation, has stated that increased intake of carbohydrate is harmful.

Dr Salim Yusuf is the latest researcher to state that the dietary guidelines we follow are not doing us any good.

Dr Yusuf’s assessment came from a lecture he gave, on 12 February, at the 22nd Cardiology Update Course in Davos, Switzerland.

Please note that the video, which was hosted by a third party, has been removed. This is unfortunately beyond our control.

In the lecture, Dr Yusuf presented the key findings from a large scale multi-national research study which looked at the risk of heart disease across 17 countries over a four-year time period.

The Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study looked to assess the impact of urban living on the risk of developing heart disease.

Dr Yusuf exclaimed that his research team were surprised when they saw that increasing fat intake was linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Furthermore, as carbohydrate intake is increased, the risk of heart disease grew stronger.

The cardiologist highlights the fact that it is excessive carbohydrate that is the primary dietary factor that is bad for heart health.

He went on to state that the findings in the study challenge the guidelines towards reducing fat intake, that has been recommended by the World Health Organisation. It is also the dietary guidelines that the NHS follow here in the UK and by most of the western world.

Dr Yusuf states:

“So essentially we’ve increased carbohydrate intake in most western countries and this is likely damaging.”

…it is carbohydrate that is the worst thing.

In terms of the type of fat intake, Dr Yusuf states: “Saturated fats are not harmful, may even be slightly beneficial but there is no harm.”

Monounsaturated fat, as found in olive oil, appeared to confer a clear benefit. Polyunsaturated fat, found in vegetable oils, which Dr Yusuf pointed out is a processed form of oil, showed the least evidence of being beneficial.

Key quotes from Dr Yusuf’s lecture were:

  • “Some fats are good, some fats may be neutral but it is carbohydrate that is the worst thing.”
  • “Absolutely no evidence that low-fat milk is better for you.”
  • “If you look at dairy sources of fat, it is protective. If you look at meat sources of saturated fats, it is neutral and if you look at white meat, this is chicken and fish, there’s a trend toward benefit.”

Towards the end of his lecture, Dr Yusuf mentioned Nina Teicholz, an investigative journalist, who has uncovered how only weak evidence was used to justify the dietary guidelines that are followed by the NHS.

Looking to reduce carbs?

If you’re looking to reduce your carbohydrate intake safely and easily, we’ve developed the Low Carb Program for you.

The program takes you through easy to follow steps that will help you follow a diet that is great for blood sugar and healthy for the heart too.

Join the Low Carb Program

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