Low carbohydrate diets like Ketogenic and The Atkins diets that replace carbohydrates with increased intake of fats and proteins have gained popularity because of their ability to induce short term weight loss.
Eating the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats is important to avoid nutrient deficiencies and to maintain overall health. On average, 50 to 60 per cent of all calories should come from carbohydrates, 30 per cent from proteins and 12 per cent to 20 per cent from proteins.
A study published by The Lancet Public Health Journal investigated the association between carbohydrates intake and mortality. The study followed individuals for over 20 years and combined data from multiple studies looking at the effects of carbohydrate intake and risk of mortality.
The study observed an increased risk of death with reduced carbohydrate intake with those on low carbohydrate diets dying prematurely by 4 years on average, compared to those on moderate carbohydrate diets.
Those who increased their carbohydrate intake fared much better than those who cut out carbohydrates with a risk of dying one year earlier than those on recommended carbohydrate intake.
Animal protein V plant protein
A low carbohydrate diet with increased intake of animal proteins and fats was associated with a higher mortality risk compared to a low carbohydrate diet with increased intake of plant proteins and fats like nuts and vegetables. If you chose to follow a low carbohydrates diet, substituting your carbohydrates for plant based fats and proteins is much better than substituting them for animal proteins and fats.
Digestive health issues
Since low carbohydrates diets often call for reduced intake of fruits and vegetables micro-nutrients deficiencies are not uncommon. Reduced intake of fruits and vegetables leads to low fibre intake which increases the risk of digestive health problems.
Making sustainable healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle will yield better results than short-lived diet fads. The best eating plan is one that you can stick to for the rest of your life.