The Surprising Side Effect Of The Keto Diet That We Need To Talk About

Contributing Food Editor By Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
Liz Moody is a food editor, recipe developer and green smoothie enthusiast. She received her creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody is the author of two cookbooks: Healthier Together and Glow Pops and the host of the Healthier Together podcast.

If you've been considering trying a low-carb diet, whether it's paleo or the of-the-moment ketogenic diet, you need to read this first. A new study found that replacing carbs with animal fats and protein, as is often the case with low-carb diets, is linked to a shorter life span.

Researchers studied 15,428 adults who self-reported on dietary intake over a period of 25 years. Based on carbohydrate intake (and no other factors), they found that people whose diet was comprised of less than 30 percent carbs died three years earlier than those who ate higher amounts of carbohydrates, with an average life span of 79.1 years versus 82 years, respectively.

That's not the whole story, though. The authors of the study then homed in on the type of carbs consumed in the various diets—and this is where things got interesting. The risk of early death went up for dieters who consumed large amounts of animal-based protein and went down for low-carb eaters who consumed more plant-based foods like nuts and vegetables.

The study, of course, has its various faults. Participants self-reported what they consumed, and researchers only checked in on them every six years. When researchers conducted a meta-analysis of other studies on low-carb diets and mortality, however, they found similar results. Like many studies, there's no way to tell whether the results are correlative or causative.

Eating a diet high in vegetables is recommended by pretty much all of mbg's world-class doctors; indeed, even a plant-based keto diet is growing in popularity, as introduced by mbg Collective member Will Cole, D.C., IFMCP (he explains his take here). Whatever you choose to eat, be sure to talk to your doctor and monitor how it feels in your own body, since that will always be a better marker than any trend.

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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