Low-carb diets could actually shorten your life

Low-carb diets could actually shorten your life

This is why the Atkins or keto plans may not be as healthy as you think

Over the past few decades, low-carb diets are becoming more and more popular as people adopt the likes of the Atkins or the ketogenic diet in order to lose weight. However, a newly published study suggests that cutting carbohydrates in this way may actually lead to a lower life expectancy.

A study undertaken over a 25-year period in 15,400 Americans indicated that a moderate cut in carb consumption is far healthier than a dramatic cut. It also suggested that swapping carbs for plant-based protein and fat alternatives is healthier than swapping it for animal-based products.

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The study, which was published in The Lancet Public Health, relied on participants filling out questionnaires about the food and drink they consumed, as well as their portion sizes. The scientists then estimated the proportion of calories they were getting from carbs, protein and fat.

The results showed that those who got around 50-55 per cent of their calories from carbohydrates – which is the moderate group – had the lowest risk of death compared to the extra low-carb, the low-carb and the high-carb groups.

Those in the moderate group were expected to live for four years longer than those in the extra low-carb group (those who got less than 30 per cent of their energy from carbs), they would live 2.3 years longer than those in the low-carb group (30-40 per cent) and 1.1 years longer than those the high-carb group (who get 65 per cent or more of their energy from carbs).

To sum it up, those likely to live longest were the participants who consumed a moderate amount of carbohydrates…

In addition to these findings, the scientists discovered that eating more meat and cheese in place of carbohydrates, rather than plant products, even further led to a decreased life expectancy. Those who swapped their carbohydrates with plant-based food (including nuts and legumes) actually saw a reduced risk to mortality.

“Our data suggests that animal-based low-carbohydrate diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall life span and should be discouraged,” Dr Sara Seidelmann, clinical and research fellow in cardiovascular medicine from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who led the research said (via BBC). “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.”

So you might want to think twice about adopting a low-carb diet in order to lose weight, particularly if you were planning to swap your carbs for animal products.



MYTH: CLEANSES CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT Fact: most of us don't set out to cleanse with any intention of staying on an ultra-strict regime for the rest of our lives, and with good reason. This thinking can set you up for failure. Why? You adhere to your new plan for a week, drop a few pounds (or maybe gain some from all the sugary liquids), and then dive headfirst into a pint of Ben & Jerry's. It's more empowering to make small, but impactful, changes to your diet than to abstain from solids and essentially eat baby food for a week. And no, a "three-day juice cleanse" or a "22-day vegan cleanse" will not make you look like Beyoncé. Westend61


MYTH: YOU HAVE TO CUT "X" TO LOSE WEIGHT Fact: gluten, sugar, dairy, carbs, meat… you name it, someone suggests you cut it out. Truthfully, eliminating certain nutrients or food groups may help shed weight at first, but that's largely due to behavioural changes you make. If you cut sugar, you're presumably not eating the cupcakes you normally would every other day. But cutting some food groups can lead to weight gain. Most gluten- or dairy-free alternatives are full of added calories or have unpronounceable ingredients, so the real thing can be healthier. Unless there's a medical need for you to shun a food group, skip this strategy. Daniel Hurst Photography


MYTH: HEALTH-FOOD STORE PRODUCTS ARE "BETTER FOR YOU" Fact: no matter where you shop for food, you always have to read labels. The "organic" claim has no bearing on the number of calories you're consuming when you dig in. And there's no hard-and-fast rule or clear definition of "natural" labels when it comes to food products. For example, some yoghurts that are labelled "all natural flavours" actually have 40g of added sugar per cup. Choose plain, whole foods for waistline- and wallet-friendly groceries. hugo chang


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MYTH: FLAT BELLY FOODS ARE A THINGFact: sadly, we can't "spot train" specific areas of our bodies with what we eat. When dietitians like me talk about "flat-belly foods", we usually mean ones that can cut back on uncomfortable gas and bloating — not actually tone an area of your body. That said, significant research links certain dietary patterns to reducing waistlines. Try eating low-fat (or skimmed) dairy regularly, snacking on high-fibre nuts (limit to a handful), and replacing calories from processed foods, added sugar and saturated fat with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, plant-based protein and seafood.

From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK

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