Meat-Heavy Low Carb Keto Diets May Shorten Life, Says Study

The major study uses data from a 25-year span
Low carb diets can affect life expectancy according to the study

Low carbohydrate diets can slash your life expectancy by up to four years, according to a study.

The research - titled Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis, says the 'long-term effect of carbohydrate restriction on mortality is controversial'.

The study, which took place over 25 years and included dietary data from 15,400 people, suggested that moderate carb consumption -  or switching meat for plant-based protein and fats - is healthier.


The study relied on self-reported data from participants, about the food and drink they ate, and quantities. Scientists then worked out the nutritional value of the food - including calories, carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Researchers found that those with a moderate intake of carbohydrates (accounting for around 50-55 percent of their energy intake) had a slightly lower mortality risk that those with a low or high intake of carbs.

The moderate-carb group were expected to live, on average, for around 83 years - four years longer than the extra-low-carb group ( 30 percent or less of energy from carbs), 2.3 years more than the low-carb group (30-40 percent) and  1.1 years more than the high carb group (65 percent or more).


Research leader Dr. Sara Seidelmann - clinical and research fellow in cardiovascular medicine from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston said: "Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight-loss strategy.

"However, our data suggests that animal-based low carbohydrate diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall lifespan and should be discouraged.

"Instead, if one chooses to follow a low carbohydrate diet, then exchanging carbohydrates for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy ageing in the long term."

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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Maria is the Editor of Plant Based News. A former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers. She was previously the editor of Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.

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