Avoiding carbohydrates involves an early risk of death



On the photo: vegetable rösti with hummus. According to cardiologists, mixed nutrition is best for the heart.On the photo: vegetable rösti with hummus. According to cardiologists, mixed nutrition is best for the heart.© APAweb / Helmut Fohringer
On the photo: vegetable rösti with hummus. According to cardiologists, mixed nutrition is best for the heart.© APAweb / Helmut Fohringer

Munich / Vienna. A balanced diet is the best diet for the heart. This is suggested by the results of international studies presented at the Congress of the European Cardiology Association (ESC) in Munich. The "low carb" trend, that is, the substantial renunciation of carbohydrates, however, there is an increased risk of premature death.

"Low Carb entails an increased risk of premature death"

"New study results suggest that a reasonably mixed diet is best suited for a heart-healthy diet," said Andrea Podczeck-Schweighofer (KFJ Wien), president of the Austrian Cardiology Society. For example, a study from Poland shows that a diet with very few carbohydrates should be avoided. "People with a low-carbohydrate diet are at an increased risk of premature death," study author Maciej Banach (Lodz, Poland) said. "The risks of individual causes of death such as heart disease, strokes and cancer have also increased."

The study investigated the association between low-carbohydrate diets, total mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer among 24,825 participants in the US national health and nutrition research survey. Compared with participants with the highest carbohydrate consumption, those with the lowest total mortality increased on average by 32% within an observation period of 6.4 years. The risk of death from heart disease was increased by 51 percent, a cerebrovascular disease including stroke by 50 percent and cancer by 35 percent.

"Diet low in carbohydrates can be useful in the short term"

"A diet low in carbohydrates can be useful in the short term to lose weight, lower blood pressure and improve glucose regulation," says Podczeck-Schweighofer. "But in the long term it seems to be associated with an increased mortality risk." The reason could be the lower intake of fiber and fruit, as well as the increased consumption of animal proteins, cholesterol and saturated fats. Differences in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals can also have an impact.

What heart-healthy food really is, is often different from what many think of it, said Salim Yusuf (McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada) at the presentation of the PURE study, which was also published in the journal "The Lancet": " Zum Our results show, for example, that dairy products and meat heart are healthy and contribute to longevity. "People with a diet that includes fruit, vegetables, nuts, fish, but also dairy products and meat have the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease. These are the results of an overall analysis of five studies with more than 218,000 participants from more than 50 countries on five continents.

The results, says Yusuf, are valid worldwide. However, only unprocessed meat is part of a healthy heart diet. In addition, the amount of refined carbohydrates consumed must be limited. The cardiologists see in the study results a "plea for a balanced mixed diet", but no license for excessive meat consumption.


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