Healthy carbs and fats are good for you, but avoid processed foods

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There’s fresh evidence that the tired low-carb versus low-fat debate is largely missing the mark when it comes to healthy eating.

A new study of more than 37,200 people in the US suggests that both low-fat and low-carb diets can be linked to earlier deaths — but only when they’re loaded with the low-quality, processed fats and carbs that we know are bad for our health, like white breads, sugar, and red meat.

“No matter if people choose low-carb diets or low-fat diets, the quality of the macronutrients matters,” study author Zhilei Shan, a research scientist at Harvard University, told Insider shortly before his new study was released in JAMA Internal Medicine on Tuesday.

The finding goes along with what other research has been pointing to for decades: there’s something especially good for us about plant-based foods, which are bursting with nutritious phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Foods that come from the earth, in other words, and not out of a factory, are generally speaking, some of the best for our health, whether they’re more carby or more fatty.

“The four pillars of every longevity diet in the world are whole grains, greens, nuts, and beans,” Dan Buettner, who’s studied the diets of people living in the world’s Blue Zones, where people tend to live to 100 with regularity, recently told Insider.

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