A low-carb diet could shorten life expectancy by up to four years, a study suggests
Low-carbohydrate diets have gained widespread popularity with health enthusiasts. This diet can help lose weight and has shown promise for lowering the risk of some illnesses. The main source of carbohydrates is starchy foods, such as rice, potatoes, bread and pasta.
Good news for people who do not want to give up the pleasure of their comfort food- a US study over 25 years indicates that moderate carb consumption is healthier than consuming no carbs at all, reports BBC.
In the study, published in The Lancet Public Health, 15,400 people from the US filled out questionnaires on the food and drink they consumed, along with portion sizes.
After following the group for an average of 25 years, researchers found that those who got 50-55% of their energy from carbohydrates had a slightly lower risk of death compared with the low and high-carb groups.
Researchers estimated that, from the age of 50, people in the moderate carb group were on average expected to live for another 33 years.
According to BBC, the scientists then compared low-carb diets rich in animal proteins and fats with those that contained lots of plant-based protein and fat.
They found that eating more beef, lamb, pork, chicken and cheese in place of carbs was linked with a increased risk of death.
However, replacing carbohydrates with more plant-based proteins and fats, such as legumes and nuts, was actually found to slightly reduce the risk of mortality.
Dr Sara Seidelmann, clinical and research fellow in cardiovascular medicine from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who led the research, 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."