If you’re cutting out carbs and replacing them with meats and cheeses you might be doing yourself more harm than good.
According to a new 25-year study of 15,000 people, eating animal proteins such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken and cheese in place of carbs is linked to a slightly increased risk of death.
[READ MORE: Do you really need to cut out carbs to lose weight?]
Moderate carb intake - where people ate between 50-55% of energy from carbs - was found to slightly lower the risk of death compared with low (30% or less) and high (65%) carb diets.
Replacing carbs with plant-based proteins like nuts, however, was found to slightly reduce mortality risk.
The researchers estimated that from the age of 50, the average life expectancy was an additional 33 years for those with moderate carbohydrate intake – four years longer than those with very low carbohydrate consumption, and one year longer than those with high consumption.
Dr Sara Seidelmann, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who led the research, said that low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat were gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight-loss strategy but that its data suggested animal based low carb diets “might be associated with shorter overall life span and should be discouraged.”
“Instead, if one chooses to follow a low carbohydrate diet, then exchanging carbohydrates for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy ageing in the long term,” she said.