Moderate intake of carbohydrates is associated with the lowest mortality risk, a Lancet Public Health study suggests.
Over 15,000 U.S. adults aged 45–64 completed food-frequency questionnaires and were followed for roughly 25 years, during which 41% died. After multivariable adjustment, the highest mortality risk was observed in participants with the lowest carbohydrate intake, followed by those with the highest carb intake. The lowest mortality risk, meanwhile, was observed with carbohydrate intakes of 50%–55% of daily calories.
Of note, low-carb diets that were high in animal protein or fat were associated with increased mortality risk, but low-carb diets that were high in plant protein or fat conferred lower mortality risk.
A meta-analysis combining this study with seven others corroborated the findings.
The researchers conclude, “These data … provide further evidence that animal-based low carbohydrate diets should be discouraged. Alternatively, when restricting carbohydrate intake, replacement of carbohydrates with predominantly plant-based fats and proteins could be considered as a long-term approach to promote healthy ageing.”