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MED-TECH | Both low and high carbohydrates in diet could lead to early death: study

WASHINGTON — Both low-carb diet and high-carb diet could raise the risk of an early death, a recent study revealed.

Published in the Lancet Public Health on Thursday, the study followed eating habits of 15,400 people from the United States for 25 years, indicating that those who got 50-55% of their energy from carbohydrates had a slightly lower risk of death compared with other groups.

According to the research, 50-year-olds with a moderate carb diet are expected to live for another 33 years, which is 2.3 years more than low-carb group (got 30-40% of energy from carbs) and 1.1 years more than high-carb group (65% or more).

Scientists also compared low-carb diets in which proteins and fats came from animals and those from plants. They found that replacing carbohydrates with beef, lamb, pork, chicken and cheese could slightly increase the risk of death while eating more plant-based proteins and fats could reduce the risk.

“Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight-loss strategy,” said Dr. Sara Seidelmann, clinical and research fellow in cardiovascular medicine from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and leader of the study.

“However, our data suggests that animal-based low carbohydrate diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall life span and should be discouraged,” she added. “The more plant-based [the diet was], the lower the mortality.”

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