New Studies Suggest Low-Carb Diet May Lead to Early Death

If you’ve been cutting carbs in an attempt to eat a more healthy diet, consider yourself warned.  Research recently published by The Lancet Public Health suggests that both high and low carb diets may shorten lifespans by up to four years.  The key seems to be finding a happy medium that doesn’t cut carbs altogether.

The study involved more than 15,400 Americans who were involved in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.  The study took their information and compared it with other studies that included more than 20 countries and 423,000 people.

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Low-Carbs vs High-Carbs

It was concluded that people who ate an average amount of carbs lived an average of four years longer than people who ate low-carb diets.  When compared to those who ate a large amount of carbs, they lived about one year longer.

The downside of the studies is that the data was self-reported, which can often be flawed since human memory isn’t perfect.  The diets also covered a 25-year period where they were only measured twice.  Once at the beginning, then again after six years had passed.

“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,” said Sara Seidermann, lead author at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Carbohydrate Replacements

People who replaced carbs with plant-based foods were found to have a lower risk of early death than those who replaced carbs with fat from animals or protein.  This is because they believed that those proteins were more healthy than the carbs.

“These findings bring together several strands that have been controversial,” said co-author Walter Willett at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. “Too much and too little carbohydrate can be harmful but what counts most is the type of fat, protein, and carbohydrate.”