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

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A recent study led by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School suggests that both low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets can lead to a longer life when done in a balanced and healthy manner.

The study, which followed over 35,000 adults between the ages of 40 and 70 for an average of 18 years, found a 12% lower risk of death for those on a low-carb diet and a 6% lower risk for those on a low-fat diet.

Quality Over Quantity

According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Zhilei Shan, the focus should be on the quality of carbohydrates and fats consumed.

Participants who replaced saturated fats with unsaturated fats had a lower risk of death, while those who replaced carbohydrates with animal proteins and fats had a higher risk of death.

Implications for Public Health

The findings have important ramifications for public health policy and nutrition guidelines, emphasizing the need for balance and moderation.

How to Eat Healthily on Low-Carb or Low-Fat Diets

For those interested in adopting either of these dietary approaches, here are some tips for doing it healthily:

Low-Carbohydrate Diet:

Choose Healthy Carbs: Opt for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains over processed carbohydrates like white bread or sugary drinks.

Lean Proteins: Go for protein sources that are low in saturated fats, such as chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes.

Healthy Fats: Include fats from sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

Portion Control: Be mindful of portions; eat until you are satisfied but not overly full.

Low-Fat Diet:

  1. Focus on Healthy Fats: Nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil are good choices.
  2. Lean Proteins: Again, opt for lean sources like chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes.
  3. High-Fiber Carbs: Choose fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are high in fiber.
  4. Avoid Processed Foods: Stay away from foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.
  5. Portion Control: Pay attention to portion sizes.

General Tips:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking enough water is crucial for overall health.
  • Limit Sugary and Alcoholic Drinks: These can add a lot of empty calories to your diet.

Consult Health Professionals

Before you begin any new diet, consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to ensure that it is appropriate and safe for you.

Additional Resources

If you are interested in nutrition, you may also find it beneficial to read up on how the Mediterranean diet could protect brain health, how certain plant nutrients could help reduce high blood pressure, and how olive oil and vitamin D may have various health benefits.

The study has been published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, adding another layer of credibility to these potentially life-changing findings.

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