"The more refined one is, the more unhappy" was Russian author Anton Chekhov's view of the world. And more than 100 years after he penned that observation, nutritional scientists are shouting it from the rooftops
That’s because eating refined carbohydrates not only fuels depression and some cancers (prostate and breast, for example), it lowers the quality of your life — and shortens it.
Researchers looked at data from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study to evaluate the association between intakes of refined grains, whole grains, and white rice with cardiovascular disease, total mortality, blood lipids, and blood pressure.
The results published in BMJ found that eating around 12 ounces (seven servings) of refined grains a day was associated with a 27% higher risk of death and a 33% higher risk of serious cardiovascular events and higher blood pressure, compared to those who had the lowest intake of refined grains — about 1.7 ounces, which is the amount contained in about 6 ounces of pasta. (White rice wasn't heart-damaging.)
How easy is it to eat 12 ounces of refined carbs in a day? That's what's in a large serving of McDonald's fries, four slices of hearty white bread, a cup of sugared cereal, one baked potato, two scoops of chocolate ice cream, or three Oreos.
Luckily, it's easy —and tasty — to dodge those refined carbohydrate bullets. Opt for natural sugars in fruits, 100% whole grains, lots of high-fiber veggies, and no ultra-processed foods.
Then you can enjoy the happiness that comes from a lack of refinement.