A new study published in The Lancet is poking holes in one of the most popular dieting fads: cutting carbs. According to the study, a low-carb diet is associated with higher rates of mortality than those whose diet includes a moderate amount of carbs. Turns out that cutting carbs and loading up on meat and fat IS too good to be true!
The study, by lead author Dr. Sarah Seidelman of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, used data provided by more than 15,400 adults in the U.S. Here’s the gist: people who got less than 40 percent of their calories from carbohydrates (low carbs) could expect to live four fewer years than those who got 50 to 55 percent of their calories from carbohydrates (moderate carbs). The second important takeaway from the study was that people who cut carbs but ate an increased amount of animal proteins and fats had an even higher mortality risk, whereas plant-based proteins and fats (including nuts) were associated with a lower mortality risk. Now, “mortality risk” might seem pretty abstract, but what about heart disease and cardiovascular conditions? That’s what’s going to kill you four years ahead of your peers that are eating a moderate diet that includes carbs, meat, dairy, and lots of fruits and veggies.
What does this mean? It’s pretty simple—cutting out grains doesn’t do you any good if you increase your consumption of meat and dairy. If you’re cutting back on carbs but used that as an excuse to eat more meat instead of a balanced diet—we’re looking at you, Keto—you’re really not doing yourself any favors!
Lower carbs are often useful for pure weight loss regimines, but this new information indicates that low-carb diets have potential long-term negative consequences. You can’t just cut out junk (or carboydrates) without replacing it with a healthy alternative, especially fruits and vegetables. There’s no one-size-fits-all miracle diet. In the end, moderation is key!