Sure, donuts are full of sugar and cholesterol, but your favourite low carb diet could be taking years off your life. If you are a Keto advocate, Paleo warrior or Atkins addict, you’ve probably shed a few kilos—and for that we salute you. However, a new study conducted on the long term effects of a low carb diet suggests you might need to put your #goodvibes on hold.
Before you jump to conclusions—this was no two-minute survey conducted by biology interns. This study, funded by the National Institute Of Health, looked at data going back into the 1980s, and serves as a word of warning for those that eat steak for breakfast, eggs for lunch and bacon for dinner.
The study, published in the Lancet Journal of Public Health, found that whether you commit the sacrilegious act of replacing spaghetti with ‘zucchini pasta’ or whether you subsist off of the timeless student diet of bread and crackers, you’re screwed either way.
As reported by Maxim, “Researchers found that both high and low percentages of carbohydrate diets were associated with increased mortality, with minimal risk observed at 50–55% carbohydrate intake.” So basically: moderation is key.
Unfortunately for people who replace the majority of their carbs with animal-derived protein and fat (from sources like lamb, beef, pork, and chicken), this kind of diet was correlated with a shorter lifespan. This was in contrast to those who got most of their protein and fat from “vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, and whole-grain breads,” who were found to live longer.
“A low-carb diet could shorten life expectancy by up to four years,” (BBC).
Researchers concluded that “the source of food notably modifies the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality,” (Maxim). So basically, if you take up a low carb diet, don’t just replace everything with meat. And if you are looking to improve your health, going “full keto” isn’t the only option—you could just switch up your thin sliced white toast for some wholegrain goodness…
Our takeaway? Everything in moderation. Including rib-eye and triple-chocolate cake.