Consumption of low-carbohydrate diets may be unsafe, as this may increase the risk of premature death, a new study has found.
The study, presented at ESC Congress 2018, found that the risks, among the participants in the study, were also increased for individual causes of death, including coronary heart disease, strokes and cancer.
"Our study highlights an unfavorable relationship between low-carbohydrate diets and total and cause-specific mortality, based on individual data and pooled results from previous studies.The findings suggest that low-carbohydrate diets are unsafe and should not be recommended," said co-author Maciej Banach , professor at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland.
According to the researchers, several diets have been proposed for weight loss, such as diets with low carbohydrates and high protein and fat. But the long-term safety of these diets is controversial.
"Low-carb diets may be useful in the short term to lose weight, lower blood pressure and improve blood sugar levels, but our study suggests that they are associated with an increased risk of death in the long term due to any cause, and deaths from cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease and cancer, "said Banach.
For the study, the team investigated the relationship between low-carbohydrate diets, death from all causes and deaths from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (including stroke) and cancer among 24,825 participants.
Compared to participants with the highest carbohydrate consumption, those with the lowest intake had a 32 percent higher risk of death from all causes than an average of 6.4 years of follow-up, the team said.
In addition, the risks of death from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and cancer increased by 51 percent, 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively, she added.
The results were confirmed in a meta-analysis of seven prospective cohort studies with 447,506 participants and a mean follow-up of 15.6 years, representing 15 percent, 13 percent and 8 percent increased risk in total, cardiovascular and cancer deaths with low (compared to high) carbohydrate feeds.
"The reduced intake of fiber and fruit and an increased intake of animal proteins, cholesterol and saturated fat with this diet can play a role, and differences in minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals can occur," Banach noted.
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