Balanced low-carb and low-fat diets can prolong life, says study

Credit: Unsplash+.

A recent study suggests that a balanced low-carbohydrate or low-fat diet can extend the lifespan of middle-aged and older adults.

The study, conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and other institutions, analyzed data from over 35,000 adults aged 40-70 years over an average of 18 years.

The researchers found that both low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets were linked with a lower risk of death from any cause.

Specifically, a low-carbohydrate diet was associated with a 12% lower risk of death, while a low-fat diet corresponded to a 6% lower risk of death. The type of fat and carbohydrate consumed was also found to be significant.

Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats resulted in a lower risk of death. Conversely, replacing carbohydrates with animal protein and fat led to a higher risk of death.

Dr. Zhilei Shan, the study’s lead author, stressed the importance of balance and moderation in diet, suggesting to focus on the quality of the carbohydrates and fats consumed.

Unsaturated fats should replace saturated fats, and healthy carbohydrate sources, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, should be prioritized.

The study provides significant insights for public health policy and nutritional guidelines, implying that balanced low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets could be healthy alternatives for middle-aged and older adults.

To adopt these dietary practices in a balanced and healthy way, here are some guidelines:

For a Low-Carbohydrate Diet:

  1. Prioritize healthy carbohydrate sources like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  2. Avoid highly processed carbohydrates such as white bread, sugary drinks, and sweets.
  3. Opt for lean, low-in-saturated-fat protein sources, such as chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes.
  4. Choose healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, and steer clear of saturated and trans fats found in fried foods, processed snacks, and baked goods.

For a Low-Fat Diet:

  1. Focus on healthy fat sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil.
  2. Opt for lean protein sources like chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes.
  3. Choose high-fiber carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  4. Avoid highly processed foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt.

The principle of healthy eating revolves around balance and moderation, and it’s important to consume a variety of foods from all groups.

It’s also vital to stay hydrated, limit sugary and alcoholic drinks, and consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before starting any new diet.

The study was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about breakfast linked to better blood vessel health, and drinking too much coffee could harm people with high blood pressure.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about unhealthy habits that may increase high blood pressure risk, and results showing plant-based protein foods may help reverse diabetes.

Copyright © 2023 Scientific Diet. All rights reserved.