• By Elizabeth Coots, Extension Agent

Family and Consumer Sciences

How low can you go with carbs? Recent studies have shown the popular low-carb diet might not be as beneficial as once thought. This diet restricts the amount of carbohydrates you eat and encourages eating fats or proteins in their place. This has been used for many years as a weight loss diet and has become increasingly popular, but a recent study shows there may be long-term consequences going low-carb.

The study by The Lancet looked at 15,428 American adults aged 45 to 64 years old over 25 years and compared carbohydrate intake with mortality rate. In the study, individuals consumed high-carbohydrate, low-carbohydrate, or moderate-carbohydrate diets.

Researchers found that both low- and high-carbohydrate consumption had a greater mortality risk than those who ate a moderate amount of carbohydrates. Getting half of your daily energy from carbohydrates is considered moderate. In this study, those who found their protein and fat in vegetables, nuts, peanut butter and whole-grain breads lived longer. With the excitement around low-carb diets, this study sheds some new light on the matter. This study shows it is best to eat a balanced diet where energy comes from carbohydrates, fats and protein. While the low-carb diet has been effective for weight loss in some, research now shows it could have negative effects over the long term. You should always work with your doctor to find the right nutrition plan.

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