Published: Wed, August 22, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

A Low-Carb Diet May Reduce Four Years of Your Life: Lancet

A Low-Carb Diet May Reduce Four Years of Your Life: Lancet

The researchers concluded those with the lowest risk of an early death followed a diet made up of 50-55 percent carbohydrates. "Too much and too little carbohydrate can be harmful but what counts most is the type of fat, protein, and carbohydrate". "However, our data suggests that animal-based low carbohydrate diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall life span and should be discouraged". According to the study authors, "many" randomised controlled trials of low carbohydrate diets suggest beneficial weight loss and improvements in cardiometabolic risk.

The first part of the study revealed that both a low intake of carbs (less than 40 percent of the total energy intake coming from carbs) and a high intake (or over 70 percent) correlated with a higher risk of premature mortality.

However, it is important to note that all low-carb diets are not the same.

The observational study looked at the eating habits of more than 15,400 U.S. consumers who provided information on their dietary habits as part of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study between 1987 and 1989.

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.

For the study, the researchers made 15,400 people from the United States fill out questionnaires on the amount of food and drinks they consumed along with the portion size for each. The Keto diet and the Paleo diet are popular renditions that typically hold a large focus on animal-based foods. They were then followed up for a median of 25 years, during which time, 6,283 people died. They were asked questions about their eating habits.

"These findings bring together several strands that have been controversial", co-author Walter Willett at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said in a statement.

Experts say these findings are in line with the Canada food guide that recommends moderate carbohydrate intake, ranging from six to seven grain products per day for women aged 19 to 50, and eight for men.

"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.

The conclusions of such previous studies with which the authors have compared their work.

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