An Australian researcher has discovered that some countries in the Pacific are benefiting from a reversal of the standard American diet. Instead, their populations stay healthy on diets high in fats and low in carbohydrates, reported the Australian Network News on October 31.
Professor Grant Schofield from the Auckland University of Technology compared the diets of several Pacific nations. He discovered that people in Vanuatu are healthier compared to the other countries because they have stayed with their traditional high fat diets.
"The problem is to try and stop them developing the same problems that... (other countries in) the Pacific have started to develop, which is as soon as you start to develop and urbanize and change your food then everything goes quite badly wrong," he said.
When junk foods such as products high in sugar become more popular, "they all go badly," explained Schofield.
And he did more than study the results of high fat, low carb diets in other people: Schofield experimented on himself.
He said that he lost weight and enhanced his health.
"The advice that we've been giving in most developed countries is that things like coconuts are very high in saturated fat," said Schofield.
And although most people assume that saturated fat is bad for you, "it just doesn't play out that way in these traditional food cultures."
After evaluating different types and their impact in different nations, Dr. Schofield highlights refined and processed carbohydrates as the enemy.
"My observation is that Pacific people don't do well on those sorts of carbohydrates," he said.
"The Pacific population has really been eating a good quality protein and a relatively high fat diet coming from plants for most of the time the Pacific's been around."
The professor is now conducting diet trials in New Zealand where obesity and diabetes are growing concerns.
"What you see is contrary to what the regular health advice is, which is like you're too fat, you need to exercise more and eat less and you particularly need to get your fat down," Schofield said.
"We've gone for the opposite approach which is just reduce the sugar and refined and processed carbohydrates, but make sure you do get some fat and protein and those sorts of traditional foods."
Also conducting a study on high fat ketogenic diets: University of California researchers. Learn more about their search for participants and study parameters by clicking here.