A medical study has shown that cutting carbohydrates out of your diet might mean you're also shortening your lifespan by four years.
Yikes! Banning carbs from the diet has become increasingly popular for weight loss or a healthier lifestyle, but recent studies show that low carb or no-carb diets might not be all that great in the long run. The peer-reviewed research is called "Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study", and has been referred to as the most comprehensive study of carbohydrate intake ever. The study was published in the medical journal The Lancet Public Health.
Low carb diets, as well as high carb diets, could shorten the lifespan, whereas diets including a moderate amount of carbohydrates had a positive effect on mortality. Researches found that people who ate a moderate amount of carbs in their diet lived four years longer than those on a low-carb diet, and one year longer than those who followed a high-carb diet.
As reported in USA Today, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study is peer-reviewed, meaning it consists of self-reported data, and it is based on data from over 45,000 middle-aged Americans. The dietary patterns observed were then compared to additional research that was done with another 435,000 people from over twenty different countries.
The problem with studies based on self-reported data is that it might not be entirely accurate since it relies on the subject's memory. Another limitation of this study, in particular, is that the diets were only measured twice during the whole duration of 25 years; first at the beginning of the study, and then again after six years had passed.
In addition to the findings related to the number of carbohydrates in a diet, it was also concluded that what we use as a substitute to the carbs also have a significant effect. People who follow diets that are low-carb but high in animal-based fats and protein, which is typical in Europe and North America, were found to run a higher risk of early death, compared to those who replace carbs with plant-based foods. Basically, eating too much or too little carbs might be harmful to you, but what researchers stress to be more important is the choice of substitute, and what type of carbohydrate, protein, and fat we consume. Perhaps what they say is true, everything in moderation.