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Are Low-Carb Diets Dangerous?

Low-carb diets are often touted as a way to lose weight quickly. However, research presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s Congress 2018 claims that those who consume low-carbohydrate diets could be more likely to die from serious conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

Maciej Banach, the study’s co-author and a professor at the Medical University of Lodz, Poland, stated that risks for those consuming a low-carb diet included premature death, stroke, and coronary heart disease. The study involved data from 24,825 people with an average age of 48 who participated in a U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2010.

The results indicated that those who consumed the lowest number of carbs in the study sample were 32 percent more likely to die from any cause in a 6.4-year follow-up period when compared to the participants who consumed the highest number of carbs. Other risks included 51 percent greater chance of heart disease, 50 percent greater chance of dying from cerebrovascular disease, and 35 percent greater risk of dying from cancer.

These results, according to the study authors, could point to how low-carb dieters tend to eat more red meat (and other animal proteins). The saturated fat and cholesterol found in these food items, combined with a reduced intake of fiber, can cause a shortage of certain minerals and vitamins.

Banach indicates that low-carb diets might be helpful for patients in short-term periods in order to help improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, but should not be followed for the long-term without medical supervision.

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