Monday, 24 September, 2018

New low carb link to life expectancy should be interpreted with caution

Low-Carb Diet Might Cut Your Life Expectancy If It's Also High In Meat Low-carb Diets Could Shorten Life, Study Suggests
Samantha Long | 19 August, 2018, 02:47

But if you do want to cut down, swapping carbs for plant-based proteins and fats from foods such as vegetables, legumes, and nuts, is a healthier choice than replacing them with beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and cheese. This was four years longer than those on a low-carb diet (29 years) and one year longer than those on a high-carb diet (32 years), according to the study.

For the study, receiving less than 40 percent of total energy intake from carbohydrates qualified as a low-carb regimen, though many such diets reduce the share to 20 percent or less.

The study's authors conclude that the best long-term approach to promote healthy ageing is to replace carbs with plant-based fats and protein when you're on a low-carb diet.

The researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, then compared low-carb diets rich in animal protein and fats with those that contained lots of plant-based protein and fat.

Specifically, those who received 50-55% of their energy from carbohydrates (moderate carb consumption) had a slightly lower risk of death compared to low and high carb groups.

"These data also provide further evidence that animal-based low carbohydrate diets should be discouraged".

The research didn't definitively prove that the difference in diets was the cause of early deaths, but the researchers estimate that a 50-year-old eating a moderate amount of carbs might live about four years longer-to the age of 83-than someone eating a very low carb diet. In other words, a "sweet spot".

For their study, researchers followed 15,428 American adults aged 45-64 years from 1987 until 2012. What's more, the study only assessed people's diets at two points in time, and it's possible that participants' diets may have changed during the 25-year study, which could have affected the results. The global research shows that your mortality risk could be lowered if you follow a low-carb diet featuring plant-based proteins and fat.

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Seidelmann warned about the widespread popularity of low-carb diets as a weight loss technique, with people giving up foods such as bread, pasta and potatoes. "With a mere 100g of complex carb a day to play with, a lower intake of cereals, grains, and starchy vegetables is inevitable", said Catherine Collins, a dietitian with the UK's National Health Service, who was not involved in the study.

From this, scientists estimated the proportion of calories they got from carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are becoming increasingly popular.

The study, led by Harvard School of Public Health in the USA, goes some way to ending the decades-old debate over whether cutting carbs or fat is a better way to lose weight and improve health.

The study involved a total of 15,400 people from the United States filling out questionnaires on the food and drink they consumed, as well as portion sizes.

"A really important message from this study is that it is not enough to focus on the nutrients, but whether they are derived from animal or plant sources", she added.

Participants filled out detailed questionnaires about their dietary habits - what foods, how much, how often and so on.

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