According to a recent study published in The Lancet Public Health, low-carb diets might shorten the life, while a diet based on moderate carbohydrates consumption is much healthier. The research, carried out over a period of more than 25 years, revealed the dangerous outcomes of the more and more popular diets based on low carbs intake, such as the Atkins diet.
After questioning more than 15,400 US residents regarding their dietary habits, the researchers were able to estimate how much proteins, carbs, and fats people consume, on average. Accordingly, those respondents who got 50-55% of their daily energy requirements from carbs presented a lower premature death risk in comparison to those who adopted either low-carb diets or diets with high carbohydrates intake.
Carbs are usually found in vegetables, fruits, and sugars, but the highest amounts are in potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, and cereals.
Low-carb diets usually result in lower vegetable and fruit consumption
The researchers involved in the new study indicated that the Western diets which are increasingly more promoting a low carbohydrates intake but focusing on nutrients is not enough and results in the unhealthy habit of consuming fewer vegetables and fruits.
“A really important message from this study is that it is not enough to focus on the nutrients, but whether they are derived from animal or plant sources. 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,” said Prof. Nita Forouhi from the University of Cambridge.
On the other hand, high-fiber consumption should be the goal. “High-fiber starchy carbohydrates should provide about half of our energy, including fruit and vegetables while reducing intake of higher fat meat and dairy,” said Dr. Alison Tedstone.
However, on the downside, the researchers involved in the study made their estimations based on observational associations and not on cause-and-effect data.