While low carb diets like Keto, Atkins might be great for weight loss, a new study warns that these diets may reduce one’s life span by four years.
The study, published in the journal The Lancet Public Health, found that average consumption of carbohydrates or switching to a plant-based diet for protein and fats, is healthier.
For the study, the researchers made 15,400 people from the US fill out questionnaires on the amount of food and drinks they consumed along with the portion size for each. This data was then used to estimate the amount of calories the respondents received from carbohydrates, protein and fats.
These people were followed for the next 25 years post which the researchers concluded that the group of people who consumed a moderate carb diet and received 50-55% of their daily energy from carbohydrates had a reduced risk of death as compared to the group which was on a low or high carb diet.
People who consumed a moderate amount of carbohydrates were found to live four years longer than the group on a low-carb diet and one year longer than the group who were on a high-carb diet.
Low-carb diets are defines as diets in which less than 40% of the calories are derived from carbohydrates while a high-carb diet is the one where more than 70% of the calories come from carbohydrates.
Researchers say that the main source of carbohydrates are food which contain a lot of starch like rice, potatoes, bread, cereals etc. Vegetables and fruits also contain carbs.
In a statement, Dr Sara Seidelmann, Clinical and Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Medicine from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, said:
Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight loss strategy. 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. Instead, if one chooses to follow a low carbohydrate diet, then exchanging carbohydrates for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy ageing in the long term.Dr Sara Seidelmann
Dr Sara Seidelmann is also the lead author of the study.
The authors agreed that more study was required in this field as this study depended a lot of people’s memory of the food that they ate.
The conclusions of this study were also found to be similar to other studies done earlier where researchers had studied more than 4 lakh people from across 20 countries.
Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health said:
These findings bring together several strands that have been controversial. Too much and too little carbohydrate can be harmful but what counts most is the type of fat, protein, and carbohydrate.Walter Willett
Walter Willett is also a co-author of the study.
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