Calling all pasta lovers: Low carb diets could actually shorten your lifespan

Calling all pasta lovers: Low carb diets could actually shorten your lifespan

In the new study, the researchers examined information from almost 15,500 adults ages 45 to 64 from four communities in North Carolina, Mississippi, Minnesota and Maryland.

The study, which involved more than 15,000 Americans who were tracked for a quarter of a century, found that those who ate a low-carb diet (with less than 40 percent of daily calories coming from carbs) or a high-carb diet (with more than 70 percent of daily calories coming from carbs) were more likely to die during the study period, compared with those who ate a moderate-carb diet, with about 50 to 55 percent of their calories coming from carbs.

According to the BBC, researchers estimated that people in the moderate carb group were on average expected to live for another 33 years from the age of 50.

Proponents of meat-heavy low-carb "Stone Age" diets argue that the rapid shift 10,000 years ago - with the advent of agriculture - to grains, dairy and legumes has not allowed the human body enough time to adapt to these high-carb foods. The global research shows that your mortality risk could be lowered if you follow a low-carb diet featuring plant-based proteins and fat.

They conducted a meta-analysis of studies on carbohydrate intake including more than 432,000 people from over 20 countries throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

"Those that favoured plant-derived protein and fat intake, from sources such as vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, and whole-grain breads, were associated with lower mortality", it said, adding that this suggested "the source of food notably modifies the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality".

The study - published in The Lancet Public Health - analysed the diets of 15,400 participants in the USA to estimate how many calories they got from carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Dr Sara Seidelmann, clinical and research fellow in cardiovascular medicine from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, who led the research, said: 'We need to look really carefully at what are the healthy compounds in diets that provide protection. At the start of the study in the late 1980s, and again six years later, participants completed surveys about the types of foods they ate and how often. Such a diet can also reduce longevity, but by far less, the scientists found.

Proteins and fats from vegetables, legumes and nuts were also linked to lower mortality.

"Low carbohydrate dietary patterns favouring animal-derived protein and fat sources, from sources such as lamb, beef, pork, and chicken, were associated with higher mortality", the study reads. In other words, a "sweet spot".

"Our findings suggest a negative long-term association between life expectancy and both low carbohydrate and high carbohydrate diets when food sources are not taken into account", the study states.

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