Science

Low-Carb Diets Are Not As Good As Thought

Low-Carb Diets
RitaE / Pixabay

There is no perfect diet. A lot of people who want to lose weight are constantly listening to conflicting thoughts on the amount of food they should eat, as well as what kinds of foods. For a long time, we have heard about the bad effects of sugar, and advice on the benefits of eating low-carb diets. However, a new study suggests that low-carb diets are not as good as was thought and could actually shorten life.

The trendy Ketogenic diet

A lot of people have been trying out the ketogenic diet lately. Using such a nutritional lifestyle could lead to tricking their bodies into entering a natural starvation mode which would lead to losing weight, without having to give up some of their favorite foods. A new study that was published on Thursday in The Lancet suggests that “everything in moderation” is still the best amount of carbs to consume and still lose weight.

Lead researcher of the study, Sara Seidelmann, a cardiologist and nutrition researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, revealed to Business Insider that the results of the study indicate a diet should be “rich in plant based whole foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts is associated with healthy aging.”

How did the study go?

Seidelmann and the team checked the diets of more than 15,400 adults in the U.S. and 432,000 more people located in more than 20 countries across the globe. They analyzed the diets of those people in relation to their lifespan.

The researchers found that people who were consuming a moderate amount of carbohydrates, around half of their daily calorie intake, lived the longest. Those who consumed low-carb diets, with less than 40% of their daily calories from carbohydrates, as well as those who got more than 70% of their energy from carbs, lived shorter lives, as opposed to those that were in the middle.

The group of people who had negative consequences from eating too many carbs were mostly found in some countries with lower economic status. As opposed to this group were the people who rely on low-carb diets, and to everyone’s surprise the group of people with the highest risk of death in the U.S. study were people who actually barely consumed carbs at all and replaced such foods with animal fats and proteins: “beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and cheese,” as Seidelmann put it.

“Clearly, filling your plate with those things increased mortality,” she said.

Based on the results of the study, they concluded that a 50-year-old person who eats 50-55% carbs out of their whole daily calorie intake could extend their life for another 33.1 years. On the other hand, the same person who consumes a low-carb diet and gets roughly 30% of their calories from carbohydrates could live up to 29.1 more years.

Seidelmann, however, agrees that low-carb diets and weight loss are linked in the short-term. However, we should be careful while going on diets like the ketogenic and Atkins, when planning long-term weight-loss plans.

“There’s absolutely nothing more important for our health than what we eat each and every day,” she said. “I really would like individuals to realize the power that they have over their own health.”