If you’ve been following a low-carb diet in the hope of shedding some extra pounds, you may be unknowingly shortening your life span, a 25-year study has suggested.
Food fads which replace carbs with protein and fat, such as the ketogenic or paleo diets, have gained popularity over the past few years. But new research has found those with low-carb diets died an average of four years earlier than those with moderate intakes.
The study, which has been published in Lancet Public Health journal, followed 15,428 adults aged 45-64 over two decades from 1987.
“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.
The results showed that from age 50, the average life expectancy for those with moderate carbohydrate intake was four years longer than those who consumed very low levels of carbohydrate.
Those with moderate carbohydrate intake lived until an average age of 83, while those with very low carbohydrate consumption lived an average of 79 years. While those with a high carb intake lived until an average age of 82.
But it wasn’t all bad news for people who stick to a low-carb diet, as the study’s authors said that the best long-term approach to promote healthy ageing is to replace carbs with plant-based fats and protein when you’re on a low-carb diet.
They found that low-carb diets that involved people consuming animal-based proteins and fats were linked with a greater risk of early death, but low-carbs diets that involved people consuming plant-based proteins and fats were linked with a reduced risk of early death.
“Whereas 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, suggesting that the source of food notably modifies the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality,” the study reads.
It comes after the paleo diet, commonly referred to as the caveman diet, proven to be historically inaccurate. The paleo diet is based on the premise that our caveman ancestors didn’t eat grains, but one doctor has slammed the controversial diet after a new discovery provided evidence that humans have eaten bread for way longer than we might have expected.
In fact, the origins of bread have been found to date back to 14,000 years ago, when flour was made from wild wheat and barley.