Low-carb diets are dangerous for your health

Those who follow restrictive low-sugar diets, such as Dukan or Atkins, are more likely to die prematurely from cardiovascular disease or cancer than people who continue to consume even large amounts.


Low-carb diets are dangerous for your health
low carb diets


When it comes to losing weight, choosing a healthy diet is essential. Low-carbohydrate diets, such as Dukan or Atkins, are very fashionable, especially for their fast and efficient results. This aims to limit, or even eliminate, from its diet all sugars, including the fast sugars contained in confectionery and cookies and the slow sugars present in bread, pasta, or rice. Followers of this diet also reduce their consumption of fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, their meals generally focus on proteins and fats. A misguided and even dangerous choice, according to a study presented this week at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology in Munich.


The work of Maciej Banach, professor at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland, shows that a low-carbohydrate diet presents, in the long term, a major health risk. To reach this conclusion, the research team followed for eleven years more than 24,000 participants, about as many women as men. Volunteers who all followed different diets. After questioning them about their state of health, their lifestyle, and their diet, the researchers were able to compare the risks of premature mortality.


And the finding is startling. Participants who deprived themselves of carbohydrates were 32% more likely to die within 6 years than participants who ate a diet high in sugars. Specifically, the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is increased by 50% when consuming little or no carbohydrate, and for cancers, the increase is 30%. The study also shows that people of normal weight who decide to adopt this type of restrictive diet are more likely than obese people to die early. The researchers specify that these results are confirmed after taking into account the consumption of tobacco or alcohol by the volunteers, the practice of physical activity, or the presence of pathologies such as hypertension.


According to the authors, these results are not only related to low carbohydrate intake. They would be especially associated with a high protein diet rich in lipids. According to the WHO, excessive consumption of red meat and processed meat high in cholesterol and saturated fat promotes the development of certain cancers, including colorectal cancer. These substances are also among the culprits of cardiovascular disease. In addition, "differences in the intake of minerals and vitamins may also play a role," says the study author.


Medical support: a necessity


A nutritional imbalance already pointed out in France in 2010 by a report from the National Food Safety Agency (ANSES). The latter said that there are "clinical, biological and behavioral, or psychological risks associated with the practice of weight-loss diets." Due to certain dietary restrictions, bone problems may appear, but also metabolic problems. Serious consequences which "are often at the origin of the vicious circle of a regain of weight, possibly more severe, in the more or less long term", noted the report, insisting on passing on the need for medical support during a weight loss research.


While low-sugar diets are effective in the short term for weight loss, controlling hypertension, and lowering blood sugar levels, "they are risky and should not be recommended," concludes Maciej Banach. In fact, it's important not to demonize one nutrient over another. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are all essential to our diet. According to nutritionists, our nutritional needs are met when our diet is made up of about 50% carbohydrate, 20% protein, and 30% fat.




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