Popularized in the last thirty years, low-carb diets have helped millions to lose weight. Some, however, assume that removing carbohydrates from their diet gives them license to pile on portions of meat with nary a vegetable in sight. While this may be a quick method of shedding pounds, recent Harvard research has shown that this philosophy will catch up with you in the long run.
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine last week followed almost 130,000 low-carb dieters of various ages for 20-26 years. Some participants had meat-centric diets, while others consumed an array of plant-based options. The result was a statically significant increase in the likelihood of death amongst participants who focused on eating meat and other animal products. As Dr. Frank B. Hu, a Harvard nutrition professor and the study’s lead author noted:
“We looked at these two versions of low-carb diets and found that the impact of the two are drastically different. Those who follow the animal-based low-carb diet have an increased risk of total mortality and cancer mortality in particular.”
Men especially suffered from this rise in cancer risk. The study found a “direct association” between animal-based low-carbohydrate diets in men and an increase in cancer deaths, particularly colorectal and lung cancer. By comparison, researchers found that a plant-based low-carb diet was associated with lower risk of cancer, heart disease and overall death.
The authors of the study attribute their findings to the power of produce. Vegetable-based diets have less saturated-fat and offer dietary fiber, micronutrients, vitamins and phytochemicals. You too can tap these vital nutrients- even if you’re on a low-carb diet. Making meatless meals each Monday is a fantastic way to ease into more plant-based options, try new foods and take steps towards a healthy diet that will keep you fit for years to come!