Low Carb Diets and Vascular Health

Low-carb diets linked to premature death, new study shows

New research suggests that low carb diets should be avoided as they could raise the risk of premature death [1].

Presented at ESC Congress 2018 in Munich, The NHANES study explored diet and health data from almost 25,000 people over eleven years. Over an average of 6.4 years of follow-up, findings showed that those who consumed the lowest amount of carbohydrates had a 32% higher risk of early death, a roughly 50% higher risk of dying from vascular disease and a 36% higher risk of dying from cancer – compared to those who ate the most carbs[1].

Now, this is not the first time such diets have come under scrutiny, with previous studies reporting conflicting results of their influence on the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and death[2].

The study’s author, Professor Maciej Banach of the Medical University of Lodz, Poland, highlights that although low carb diets may be useful in the short term to lower blood pressure, lose weight and improve blood glucose control, the long term outlook is less positive, linking to an increased risk of cardiovascular death and cancer[1].

So, what does this mean for you? For those wishing to improve overall vascular health, you could try a more balanced approach to eating, ensuring that whole grain and high-fibre carbohydrates hold their rightful place in each meal[3]. Opt for fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds over sugary foods and soft drinks[2] and you may find that you shed any excess pounds naturally, and in a way that won’t jeopardise your health.


[1] ESC. Low carbohydrate diets are unsafe and should be avoided. Available at: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Low-carbohydrate-diets-are-unsafe-and-should-be-avoided Accessed September 2018.
[2] Seidelmann S et al. Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis. The Lancet. September 2018.
[3] NHS. The truth about carbs. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/why-we-need-to-eat-carbs/ Accessed September 2018.

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