Comment: Evidence: Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause Mortality

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Evidence: Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause Mortality

If you're still curious about the purported benefits of the Paleo or Low-Carb Diets--this large-scale systematic review & meta-analysis of 17 large world-wide studies should convince you to think twice. So what if weight-loss & biomarkers improve in the short-term--over the long-term there was a 30% increase in all-cause mortality? Mortality is the gold-standard "biomarker".

It looks like the lack of fiber, the differences in phytochemicals, the increase in animal protein, cholesterol & saturated fat that are the troublemakers--and the authors had further questions about links to kidney disorders, osteoporosis, and mental conditions.


"Our meta-analysis supported long-term harm and no cardiovascular protection with low-carbohydrate diets....[and] suggested that low-carbohydrate diets were associated with a significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality in the long run
They also suggested that low-carbohydrate diets might not be protective or harmful in terms of CVD mortality and incidence. These findings support the hypothesis that THE SHORT-TERM BENEFITS OF LOW-CARBOHYDRATE DIETS FOR WEIGHT LOSS ARE POTENTIALLY IRRELEVANT.

In light of the fact that the number of people with obesity is exponentially increasing worldwide and obesity is one of the leading risk factors of mortality, our findings have substantial clinical and public implications on a global scale and point to the need for the further investigation of the long-term health effects of low-carbohydrate diets and other nutritional factors.

Evidence has been accumulating to suggest that low-carbohydrate diets and their combination with high-protein diets are effective in weight loss and may have favorable SHORT-TERM EFFECTS on the risk markers of CVD.

Low-carbohydrate diets may be nutritionally safe and valid insofar as the carbohydrates are simple and refined, and the MAIN SOURCE OF THE PROTEIN IS PLANTS. Despite these facts, our study did not find a cardiovascular benefit and supports their potential long-term health harm when such nutritional quality is not considered.

Low-carbohydrate diets tend to result in reduced intake of fiber and fruits, and INCREASED INTAKE OF PROTEIN FROM ANIMAL SOURCES, cholesterol and saturated fat, all of which are risk factors for mortality and CVD.

It is postulated that differences in dietary bioactive components such as specific free fatty acids, protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals are involved.

Low-carbohydrate diets may be linked to an array of other chronic health problems. A positive cancer risk has been reportedly related to the intake of animal protein, and red and processed meat consumption, although the risk of cancer was found to be non-significant in our analysis.

Little is known about the consequences of low-carbohydrate diets with respect to kidney disease, osteoporosis, and mental condition. The biology that underlies the positive correlation between low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause death is not fully explained. Further studies to clarify the mechanism are eagerly awaited.

Given the facts that low-carbohydrate diets are likely unsafe and that calorie restriction has been demonstrated to be effective in weight loss regardless of nutritional composition, it would be prudent not to recommend low-carbohydrate diets for the time being. Further detailed studies to evaluate the effect of protein source are urgently needed."

Here is the article for those that want to read it:

A good way to defend your freedoms: