Everyone seems to be deeply confused about what ‘healthy’ actually is.

One minute, acai bowls are God’s gift to glutes. The next, they’re “sugar bombs” packing 12 teaspoons per serve. The butter vs margarine debate is still raging on. Don’t even get me started on fucking juice cleanses.

If you needed definitive proof that we’ve been befuddled by diet foods for decades, look no further than this iconic ad:

he is us all

We’re always a bit sceptical when we see a study published that makes big diet claims, or bashed a certain kind of eating. There can often be ulterior motives to these studies. Plus, things are never black and white, and a diet that works wonders for one person could be disastrous for the next. (Different strokes for different folks etc.)

But, a huge study of the diet more than 135,000 people across 18 countries over the course of 10 years has just been released, and it is promisingly logical: apparently a high-fat diet may be heaps better for long-term health than a high-carb diet.

The study at odds with repeated health advice to cut down on fats, and essentially flips our classic healthy eating pyramid on its head:

carbs are not better than fatz

The study, published today in The Lancet, assessed the association between carbohydrate and fat consumption and heart disease or early death.

Worldwide, the average person’s diet consisted of 60 per cent carbohydrates and 24 per cent energy intake from fat.

It was found that those with a high-fat diet (about 35 per cent of energy) had a lower risk of early death by about 23 per cent. The high-carb consumers (more than 60 per cent of energy), on the other hand, increased their risk of early death by about 28 per cent.

The theory here being that those who cut out fat tend to replace it with carb-heavy products like bread, pasta and rice, meaning they miss out on important nutrients you only get from fats.

“The current focus on promoting low-fat diets ignores the fact that most people’s diets in low and middle income countries are very high in carbohydrates, which seem to be linked to worse health outcomes,” said lead author Dr Mahshid Dehghan of Canada’s McMaster University.

So it proves that while high-carb isn’t great, nor is low-carb.

“The moderate intakes, of around 50-55 per cent of energy, are likely to be more appropriate than either very high or very low carbohydrate intakes,” added Dr Dehghan.

Derek was wrong

Australian dietitians though have had mixed reactions to the study. It didn’t take into account complexities like where they were getting their carbs (white bread or wholegrain? Not mentioned) or how many nutrients they were consuming.

Speaking to SBSProfessor John Funder at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research said saturated, mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats aren’t as bad as we think they are.

“So go for dairy, olive oil and even the occasional wagyu beef burger, have lots of grains, fruit and vegetables, and lay off the sweet stuff – especially the empty calories in the 16 teaspoonfuls of trouble in sugar-sweetened soft drinks,” Prof Funder said.

Of course, high-fat doesn’t equal McDonalds. I know, it makes me sad too.

Instead, it refers to food like:

Avocado

Eggs

Fatty fish like salmon, trout and mackerel

Raw nuts

Coconut oil

Greek yoghurt

Nut butters

Dark chocolate

Olives

Still confused? Live by the mantra ‘whole foods and water every day‘ and you should be sweet.

Image: Mean Girls