Cutting out carbs could shorten your life, suggests study

Following the wrong kind of low-carb diet could make you die younger: study

After a 25-year study, scientists found that those who got 50-55% of their energy from carbohydrates (this counts as "moderate carb intake" as per United Kingdom guidelines) had a slightly lower risk of death compared with the low and high-carb groups.

"There is nothing to be gained from long-term adherence to low-carbohydrate diets rich in fats and proteins from animal origins", said Mr Ian Johnson, a nutrition researcher at Quadram Institute Bioscience in Norwich, England, commenting on the research, in which he did not take part.

The research also linked diets both low and high in carbohydrates to an increase in mortality, while those who ate moderate amounts of carbs fared best.

Still, Seidelmann said that "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".

It is gratifying to see from the new study that this level of carbohydrate intake seems to be optimal for longevity'.

According to the BBC, researchers estimated that people in the moderate carb group were on average expected to live for another 33 years from the age of 50.

The authors also have no evidence to determine why there's a link between mortality risk and some low-carb diets.

Proponents of meat-heavy low-carb "Stone Age" diets argue that the rapid shift 10,000 years ago - with the advent of agriculture - to grains, dairy and legumes has not allowed the human body enough time to adapt to these high-carb foods.

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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.

In the new study, the researchers examined information from almost 15,500 adults ages 45 to 64 from four communities in North Carolina, Mississippi, Minnesota and Maryland.

"Both high and low percentages of carbohydrate diets were associated with increased mortality, with minimal risk observed at 50-55 per cent carbohydrate intake".

Researchers also found that replacing carbohydrates with protein and fat from animal sources was associated with a higher risk of mortality than moderate carbohydrate intake whereas replacing with plant-based foods was linked to a lower risk of mortality.

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

Participants were followed for about 25 years, during which 6,283 people died.

For the study, under 40 per cent of energy intake from carbohydrates qualifies as a low-carb regimen, though many such diets reduce the share to 20 per cent or less. In other words, a "sweet spot".

Still, the commentary called for more studies that look at the effect of eating carbs on certain biomarkers; as well as studies that randomly assign people to follow certain dietary patterns, rather than focusing on specific nutrients.



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