Low-carb diets linked to shorter life span

Low-carb diets linked to shorter life span

A new study suggests cutting way back on carbs could be bad for you. It was deduced that for a healthy lifespan, a moderate amount of carbohydrate is imperative.

A report in The Guardian cautions that not all low-carb diets are similar.

The lowest risk of an early death was seen where carbs made up 50-55 percent of a person's diet, according to the study published August 16. After the first stage the researchers compared a low-carb diet included the consumption of foods rich in animal proteins and fats, with a diet which includes vegetable proteins and fats.

People on low-carb diets who replaced their carbohydrates with protein and fats from animals, such as with beef, lamb, pork, chicken and cheese, had a greater risk of mortality than those whose protein and fats came from plant sources, such as vegetables, legumes, and nuts.

Although previous studies have shown such diets can be beneficial for short-term weight loss and lower heart risk, the longer-term impact is proving to have more negative consequences, according to the study.

To remedy this, the researchers studied over 15,400 people, aged 45-64, who registered in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study in 1987-1989.

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However, new research points out that both too much carbohydrate and too little in our diet may be a cause for concern.

At the start of the study and again 6 years later, participants completed a dietary questionnaire on the types of food and beverages they consumed, what portion size and how often, which the researchers used to estimate the cumulative average of calories they derived from carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Subjects were followed for a median of 25 years. But it also says that consuming a diet consisting of less than 40 percent carbohydrates might send someone to the grave four years early.

Moderate consumption of carbohydrates, at 50-55% of daily energy intake, was found to be associated with the lowest risk of mortality.

"Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight loss strategy", Dr Sara Seidelmann said as quoted in the report. "These findings bring together several strands that have been controversial", said Professor Walter Willett, an epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and one of the study's authors.

Such diets may help prolong life - unlike the diets that replace carbs with animal proteins and fat.

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