Low carb diets for weight loss have been gaining traction all over the world, with health experts also vying for their health benefits. A number of celebrities have also professed the purported benefits of cutting down on carbohydrates from their daily diets. As a result, health freaks around the world are convinced that low carb diets are not just great for their health, but are also going to help them shed those unnecessary kilos. However, a new study has pointed out the downside of following low carb diets for the long term, indicating that we may have to look for other ways to maintain a healthy weight, other than cutting down on carbs. The study, published in The Lancet, has concluded that following low carbohydrate diets may increase mortality risks. The 25-year-long study looks at the potential health risks of following low carb diets and it has concluded that both excess and deficiency of carbohydrates in your diet is bad for your health and can adversely impact your longevity.
"Low carbohydrate diets, which restrict carbohydrate in favour of increased protein or fat intake, or both, are a popular weight-loss strategy", the study said, adding, "However, the long-term effect of carbohydrate restriction on mortality is controversial and could depend on whether dietary carbohydrate is replaced by plant-based or animal-based fat and protein." The study looked at 15,428 adults aged 45-64 years, all based out of the United States of America and it analysed the relationship between the energy derived from carbohydrate intake and mortality risks in the subjects. The study also examined whether switching carbohydrates with animal or plant sources of fat and proteins affected mortality in the subjects. Based on the findings, researchers determined that both high and low amount of carbs in your meals is bad for your health. Moreover, they also determined the percentage of carbohydrate intake, for which the mortality risk was the lowest.
The study said that the lowest mortality risk was observed for people whose percentage of energy derived from dietary intake of carbohydrates were between 50 to 55 percent. Moreover, the researchers found that those people who switched carbohydrates for animal-based sources of fats and protein were at especially high risks of mortality. Meanwhile, people who switched carbs in their diet for plant-based sources of fats and proteins, such as vegetables, nuts, nut butters, etc., faced low risks of mortality.
"To further examine the potential effects of protein and fat sources supplanting carbohydrate intake, we investigated animal-based and plant-based diets in the ARIC cohort", said the study. It concluded: "We found that low carbohydrate dietary patterns favouring animal-derived protein and fat sources were associated with higher mortality", adding, "However, low carbohydrate diets that favoured plant-derived protein and fat intake were associated with lower mortality." This indicates that even if you do want to follow low carbohydrate diet to lose weight, it's healthier to depend on plant-based sources of fat and protein for energy, rather than doeending on foods like bacon, cheese, etc.