On the low-carbohydrate diet? A new research shows this might not be the best diet to go on for people who want to live longer lives.

25-Year Study

With many types of diets for people to try out, one of the most common is the low-carbohydrate diet. Unfortunately, a new, long-term study just revealed that those who go on a low- or high-carbohydrate diet may be more likely to die during the 25-year study period compared to those who consumed a moderate-carbohydrate study.

To investigate the role of carbohydrates on mortality risk, researchers gathered information from 15,428 people between 45 and 64 years old, and followed them beginning in the 1980s. In the beginning of the study and again six years later, the participants answered surveys regarding the types of foods that they consume and how often they do so. In total, participants were followed for 25 years, over 6,200 of whom died during the study period.

For the purposes of the study, people on a low-carbohydrate diet were those who had less than 40 percent of their daily calorie intake from carbohydrates, whereas those on a high-carbohydrate were those who got over 70 percent of their daily calorie intake from carbohydrates. Meanwhile, those who had a moderate-carbohydrate diet were those who got 50 to 55 percent of their diets from carbohydrates.

Low-, Moderate-, And High-Carbohydrate Diets

Essentially, researchers found a U-shaped link between carbohydrate intake and mortality risk. This means that those who had a low- and high-carbohydrate diet had higher mortality risks, while those with a moderate-carbohydrate diet had lower mortality risks.

Researchers also reviewed other studies from 20 countries and found that in over 400,000 participants, those with low- and high-calorie diets yielded a 20 percent increase in death risk. 

Basically, researchers found the minimal risk of death in participants with moderate carbohydrate intake.

Animal-Based And Plant-Based Protein And Fats

Another important finding of the study is how the source of fat and protein affected mortality risks as well. Researchers found that among those with low-carbohydrate diets, those who got their protein and fat from animal-derived sources such as beef, pork, chicken, and lamb had higher mortality risks, whereas those who got their protein and fat from plant-derived sources such as peanut butter, whole grain breads, nuts, and vegetables had lower mortality risks.

“If one chooses to follow a low carbohydrate diet, then exchanging carbohydrates for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy aging in the long term,” said study lead Dr. Sara Seidelmann of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

The study is published in The Lancet, and was funded by the National Institutes Of Health.

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