New research suggests that eating moderate carbs may help you live longer.

By Renee Cherry
September 23, 2018
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images

The ketogenic diet might be winning every popularity contest, but not everyone thinks it's all it's cracked up to be. (Jillian Michaels, for one, is not a fan.)

Still, the diet has plenty going for it: It requires you to fill the majority of your plate with high-fat foods (focusing on the good kinds of fat). And, in many cases, it leads to major weight loss. And it certainly doesn't hurt that the keto food pyramid gives delicious foods like bacon and butter a place toward the bottom-aka large quantities. (Related: The Keto Meal Plan for Beginners)

On the other hand, there are also significant health risks involved. Stomach pain and diarrhea, decreased muscle mass, and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes have all been linked to this way of eating. Dieters often experience keto flu symptoms for their first few weeks on the diet as their body adapts. And recent research published in The Lancet suggests that eating extremely low carb could negatively impact your health in the long term. Researchers found that people who ate low-carb had a higher mortality than people who ate a moderate amount of carbs. (Related: The Healthy Woman's Guide to Eating Carbs That Doesn't Involve Cutting Them)

Researchers looked at reports from 15,000 U.S. adults who tracked their diets, as well as data from seven previous studies. They found a U-shaped association between the number of carbs they ate and mortality, meaning the people who ate really high carb or really low carb had the most deaths. Eating 50 to 55 percent of total calories from carbs was the sweet spot with the lowest mortality. ~Balance.~ The study results also suggested that a plant-based low-carb diet beats diets that include a lot of animal protein like keto. Subjects who cut carbs and ate more animal products had a higher mortality rate than people who ate more plant-based, including non-keto foods like peanut butter and whole-grain bread in their diets.

Even given the popularity of the keto diet and other low-carb nutrition plans, the results make total nutrition sense. Carbs help your body function properly and help keep your energy levels up. And in general, nutrition experts tend to favor plant-heavy diets that are unrestrictive. If you decide to go on the keto diet, you can take measures to incorporate more plants. (Start with these keto-friendly vegetarian recipes.) But this study suggests that health-wise, eating a moderate amount of carbs is your best bet. Gone keto and want to wean yourself off? Find out how to safely and effectively come off the keto diet.

Comments (7)

October 4, 2019
There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. Fat and proteins are necessary for survival. Carbohydrates are not necessary and people can survive and thrive without them. I love carbs just as much as everyone else, but it’s seems people knock it or don’t try it themselves because they simply don’t want to cut carbs out and they don’t want to give up bread, sweets, etc. Meanwhile, we just keep getting fatter and fatter, and people are dying because of it. Kids are being raised thinking it’s normal to continually fatten up for the winter hibernation that never comes. Really anything to help people drop the weight should be the number one priority right now. The other health benefits that come along with it will help them stick with it long term, or at least cycle in and out after becoming fat adapted.
March 7, 2019
Hi, my name is Kate and I would like to share my story. Up until about 2 years ago, I was 30 pounds overweight. Over the years I had followed many different diet plans, but failed every single time. I was "blessed" with a pear shaped body and no matter what i did, I always retained lots of stubborn fat in my lower body. Everything changed when I found the right diet program. Read my story here ==>
January 13, 2019
Keto diet can be very beneficial if done right. What worked for me was this amazing guide on Keto Diet. Tells the right way of doing Keto along with recipes and diet plan.
January 6, 2019
The keto diet can be an effective tool for rapid weight loss. It may also be useful against epilepsy and polycystic ovarian syndrome. However, keto is not for everyone. There are a few downsides, like constipation and the keto flu. So, is the keto diet for you? Find out.....
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September 27, 2018
Cutting fat out of your diet won't make you slim. Cut carbs from your diet. But it's hard to do so as there are days when you can't stop your self from eating your favourite meal ( believe me I tried it). My gym instructor then told me about this product I lost 10 pounds in 4 weeks and believe me I felt blessed.
September 24, 2018
Carbs cause diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease, liver disease and dementia.