Calling all pasta lovers: Low carb diets could actually shorten your lifespan

The findings challenge a trend in Europe and North America towards diets that shun carbohydrates in favour of animal protein and fatMore

The findings challenge a trend in Europe and North America towards diets that shun carbohydrates in favour of animal protein and fatMore

In the same study, the authors also performed a meta-analysis of data from eight prospective cohorts involving 432,179 people in North American, European, and Asian countries.

Dr Ian Johnson, emeritus fellow at the Quadram Institute Bioscience in Norwich, said: 'The national dietary guidelines for the United Kingdom, which are based on the findings of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, recommend that carbohydrates should account for 50% of total dietary energy intake.

Cutting carbohydrates from your diet could increase the risk of an early death, a study has found.

Low carb diets where the fats and proteins primarily come from plant sources were found to have lower morality risk than low carb diets that rely heavily on animal proteins and fats.

"Our findings suggest a negative long-term association between life expectancy and both low carbohydrate and high carbohydrate diets when food sources are not taken into account", the study states.

"One explanation for the finding in this and the other U.S. studies is that it may reflect the higher risk of death in the overweight/obese, who may fall into two popular diet camps - those favouring a high-meat/low-carbohydrate diet and those favouring a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet", he added.

For example, based on the findings, the researchers estimated that from age 50, people who consumed a moderate-carb diet would have a life expectancy that was about four years longer than those who consumed a very low-carb diet (with an average life expectancy of 83 years for moderate-carb eaters versus 79 years for very low-carb eaters).

Study leader Dr Sara Seidelmann, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said: "Lowcarb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight loss strategy".

"These data also provide further evidence that animal-based low carbohydrate diets 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'. Those with a high carb intake (greater than 70 per cent of daily calories), lived until an average age of 82.

The researchers recommend that rather than ditching carbohydrates, people should have around half of their calories coming from carbohydrates.

Replacing meat with plant-based fats (such as avocados and nuts) and proteins (such as soy products and lentils) reduces the risk of mortality, Seidelmann and her team found.

A lot of people looking to lose weight are trying low-carb diets such as Keto or Atkins, but in doing so they may be shaving years off their lifespan. "This approach reduces our calories from fat to around a third of total calories, with protein making up around 20 per cent of the total, and alcohol calories sneaking in, too, where consumed".

Even people who had high intakes were better off than those who drastically cut out carbohydrates.

The authors speculated that Western-type diets that heavily restrict carbohydrates often lead to greater consumption of animal proteins and fats, which may drive inflammation, biological ageing and oxidative stress.

"When carbohydrate intake is reduced in the diet, there are benefits when this is replaced with plant-origin fat and protein food sources, but not when replaced with animal-origin sources such as meats".

Professor Sanders said a "major limitation" of the study was the use of a food frequency questionnaire to assess dietary intake.

Latest News