It is in direct opposition to health advice that people should reduce their fat intake – the NHS warns against having too much saturated fat because it raised cholesterol levels which can cause heart disease.
Those who cut out fat tend to replace it with carb-heavy products like bread, pasta and rice. This means they miss out on important nutrients.
Carb-laden diets are among the most unhealthy, and the study found that those scoffing refined sugar and processed meals have a 28% higher risk of early death.
The Canadian research – based on studies on people in 18 countries - was put forward at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona.
The findings are stark: low intakes of saturated fat increase the chances of early death by 13%.
Consuming high levels of all fats cuts early death rates by up to 23%.
Researcher Dr Andrew Mente, from McMaster University, said that getting 35% of calories from fat was the “sweet spot” for good health.
“Loosening the restriction on total fat and saturated fat and imposing limits on carbohydrates when high to reduce intake to moderate levels would be optimal.”
NHS guidance is for men to eat a maximum of 30g of saturated fat per day, with a limit of 20g for women.
Lead researcher Dr Mahshid Dehghan said anyone who gets more than 60% of their calories from carbohydrates is at risk of early death.
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