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Video: A Low-carb Diet Can Shorten Life By Four Years
A low-carb diet can shorten life by four years
Popular low-carb diets are unsafe, especially when combined with animal fats and proteins, scientists say, based on 25-year follow-up.
Photo: pxhere /
Low-carb diets are becoming more and more popular - they are believed not only to be good for weight loss, but also to reduce the risk of certain diseases. However, a study in the United States suggests that eating carbohydrates in moderation or switching from meat to plant-based proteins and fats is healthier.
Participants in the study, published by The Lancet Public Health, were 15,400 people aged 45-64 who completed questionnaires on their food and drink consumption along with serving sizes. Based on this, scientists calculated the proportion of calories obtained from carbohydrates, fat and protein.
Over 25 years of observation allowed researchers to find that getting 50-55% of energy from carbohydrates (moderate intake according to dietary recommendations) reduced the risk of death when compared to low or high carbohydrate intake.
Carbohydrates include vegetables, fruits and sugars, but their main source is starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals. With their moderate consumption, the expected number of years of life was (on average) 83 years. It was:
4 years more than people who got 30% or less of their energy from carbohydrates (very low carbohydrate content);
- 2.3 years more than 30-40% (low-carb group);
- 1.1 years more than 65% or more (high carbohydrate group).
The results obtained were similar to the results of previous studies, with which the scientists compared their observations (over 400,000 people from more than 20 countries).
In addition, the researchers compared low-carb diets rich in animal proteins and fats with those that were high in plant proteins and fats. They found that eating more beef, lamb, pork, chicken and cheese instead of carbohydrates slightly increased the risk of death. Replacing carbohydrates with vegetable proteins and fats (legumes and nuts) led to the opposite result - it somewhat reduced this risk.
Dr. Sara Seidelmann, physician and cardiovascular scientist at Brighamand Women's Hospital, Boston, who led the study, said: health and weight loss strategy. However, our data suggests that the low-carb, animal-based diets that are common in North America and Europe may be associated with shorter life spans and should not be recommended. Instead, if one chooses to follow a low-carb diet, replacing carbs with more plant-based fats and proteins may actually promote healthy aging in the long term.”
The authors suggest that "Western-style" diets with limited carbohydrates often lead to a decrease in the intake of vegetables, fruits, and grains and, accordingly, to an increase in the intake of animal proteins and fats, which are associated with inflammation and aging in the body.
However, the study has several limitations. Findings show associations of observations rather than causation; in addition, diets based on self-reported data may be inaccurate. And since diets were only measured at the beginning of the trials and six years later, dietary patterns could change over the next 19 years.
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