ATLANTA (CNN) – A low-carbohydrate or low-carbohydrate diet increases the risk of death, a new study suggests, in which people eat the staple food with the greatest benefits for their health.
Less than 40 percent or more than 70 percent of your energy – or calories – from carbohydrates was associated with the greatest risk of death. Eating moderate levels between that range offered the best options for a healthy life span.
The lowest risk of an early death was seen where carbs made 50-55 percent of a person's diet, according to the study published Thursday.
The definition of a low-carbohydrate diet, however, had some reservations because not all diets were equal.
People with a low-carbohydrate diet who replaced their carbohydrates with proteins and fats from animals, such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken and cheese, had a greater risk of mortality than those whose proteins and fats were derived from plant sources, such as vegetables, legumes and nuts.
"We have to look very carefully at what the healthy ingredients are in diets that offer protection", said Dr. Sara Seidelmann – a clinical and research assistant in the cardiovascular medicine of Brigham and the Women & # 39; s Hospital in Boston – who led the research.
Seidelmann warned of the widespread popularity of low-carbohydrate diets as a weight loss technique, with people giving up foods such as bread, pasta and potatoes.
Although previous studies have shown that such diets may be beneficial for short-term weight loss and lower heart risk, the long-term impact appears to have more negative consequences, according to
"Our data suggest that animal-based low-carbohydrate diets , which are common in North America and Europe, can be associated with a shorter total lifetime and should be discouraged, "said Seidelmann.
"On an average intake of 2000 kcal per day, a diet with 30 percent calories from carbohydrates amounts to only 150 g per day, with sugars (of course or added). 😉 that make up around 50 g of that total.With only 100 grams of complex carbohydrates a day to play with, lower intake of grains, grains and starchy vegetables is inevitable, "said Catherine Collins, a dietitian at the UK National Health Service who was not involved in the investigation. 19659002] She added that such diets affect the essence of a healthy diet – dietary fiber to prevent constipation, support blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
Government guidelines in countries such as the UK already recommend that at least a third of the diet should consist of starchy foods.
The findings "will disappoint those who, from professional experience, will continue to defend their low carbohydrate cult, but contribute to the overwhelming evidence that a balanced approach to calorie intake is advised globally by public health institutions," adds Collins.
The team studied more than 15,000 people aged between 45 and 64 from different socio-economic backgrounds in four regions of the Unite. d States. They then calculated the average caloric intake and the proportion of calories from different food groups based on questionnaires that the participants completed with an overview of the types of food and drinks they consumed, portion sizes and how often they ate. They were then followed for an average of 25 years, at which time 6,283 people died.
In addition to finding an optimal range associated with a lower risk of premature death, the team also calculated how many extra years a moderate death occurred. -carb diet can at certain ages.
From the age of 50, the average life expectancy was an additional 33 years for people who ate carbohydrates in moderation. This was four years longer than with a low-carbohydrate diet (29 years) and a year longer than with a carbohydrate-rich diet (32 years), according to the study.
The results were also combined with seven other studies into the intake of carbohydrates in people in North American, European and Asian countries, who revealed similar trends in life expectancy.
Seidelmann, a Boston clinical research fellow, revealed the additional risk of replacing carbohydrates with animal proteins and fats instead of plants.
But the researchers acknowledge that their findings at this stage are purely observational and can not prove cause and effect of eating too little or too many carbohydrates. They also emphasize that low-carbohydrate diets in the West often cause people to eat more animal fats and meat, instead of more vegetables, fruits and grains.
Moreover, the findings may be less generalizable for Asian populations where diets are high in carbohydrates, on average more than 60 percent carbohydrates, but people also often consume fish instead of meat, according to the authors.
But experts in the field agree that the findings are remarkable. "The current guidelines have been criticized by those who prefer low-carbohydrate diets, largely based on short-term weight loss studies or metabolic control in diabetes, but it is vital to consider the long-term effects and examine mortality as this study did, "said Nita Forouhi, program leader of the Nutritional Epidemiology program at Cambridge University.
"A very important message from this study is that it is not enough to focus on the nutrients, but whether they are derived from animals or plants, sources," she added. "
" When the intake of carbohydrates is reduced in the diet, there are advantages when this is replaced by vegetable origin fat and protein sources of nutrition, but not when it is replaced by sources of animal origin such as meat. -carb diet regimes do not make this distinction, but it is important. "
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