Carb lovers, rejoice! A new study suggests that eating pasta could help you live longer, while following low-carb diets such as Atkins could increase your risk of dying young.
Scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston analyzed data on 432,179 people and found that those who ate a “moderate” amount of carbs — about 50 to 55 percent of calories from carbohydrates like potatoes, pasta, and bread — could expect to live about four years longer. The findings were published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
The study found that those who eat low-carb diets are more likely to have a lower intake of fresh fruit, vegetables, and healthy grains, and in their place, substitute more meat. This decrease in the variety of nutrients can lead to an increase in biological aging and a shortened lifespan.
While low-carb diets like Atkins have fueled thinking that carbs are somehow bad for you, those on the full-fat dairy, egg, and meat diet actually fared the worst in the study. Cutting all carbs can leave you feeling moody and tired because our brains rely on the glucose found in carbs as it’s primary fuel. Carbs also affect how much serotonin we produce — that is, the happy hormone.
“Our data suggests that animal-based low-carb diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall lifespan and should be discouraged,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Sara Seidelmann.
“Instead, if one chooses to follow a low-carb diet, then exchanging carbs for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy gaining in the long term.”
Of course, this isn’t an open invitation to gorge on pasta at every meal. Those who ate more than the recommended 50 to 55 percent of carbohydrates in their daily diet were also at a higher risk for premature death — about 23 percent. And not all carbs are created equal. White pasta, bread, and pastries lack the fiber and other nutrients we get from wholesome carbohydrates and provide that quick energy release that can make you crash later.
But if you love carbs, know that a reasonable amount of the right kind of carbs can actually add years to your life. So celebrate and eat some spaghetti without regretti tonight, and often!
(h/t NY Post)
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