Hey bread, it's so great to see you again...
You know, up until the mid-20th century, the UK was OBSESSED with bread. We lived like we do when go on holiday, a bread roll on a side-plate with every meal, tearing open tiger rolls at any opportunity, it was all the rage. Then, someone decided sugar was the devil’s work and everyone abandoned bread, gradually extending that miseducated opinion to all carbs. Now, we live in a world where low-carb diets are ‘goals’ on Instagram and, as part of a society obsessed with weightloss, we avoid all carbs at all costs as if they’re not a VITAL SOURCE OF ENERGY.
Thankfully, a study has come out today confirming that actually, contrary to what certain social media influencers may have you believe, both low and high carb diets increase your risk of early death. What’s should we have instead? A moderate carb intake. I know, groundbreaking. ‘Everything in moderation’ may sound like a broken record, but in a world where new studies are coming out every day with conflicting nutritional advice and ‘low carb’ is printed in bold on every snack bar, it’s a necessity that we must keep shouting.
The research, published in the Lancet public health journal, pooled eight large observational studies, involving more than 430,000 people across the world. They found that having less than 40% or more than 70% of your calories from carbohydrates increases your risk of mortality.
With diets such as Atkins and Keto promoting reducing your carbs and replacing them with a higher fat and protein intake, the study’s author has concluded that these should be ‘discouraged’.
‘Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight loss strategy,’ Dr Sara Seidelmann, a cardiologist and nutritionist who led the research, told the Guardian, ‘However, our data suggests that animal-based low-carbohydrate diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall life span and should be discouraged.’
She claims that if following a low-carb diet is important to you, then the sources of protein and fat are better being plant-based, such as nuts, legumes and avocado, as oppose to things like meat, butter and cheese.
‘Instead, if one chooses to follow a low-carbohydrate diet,’ she continued, ‘then exchanging carbohydrates for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy ageing in the long term.’
However, the study confirms that following a moderate-carbohydrate diet is actually much healthier in the long term. While low-carb diets may provide short-term weight-loss results, they’re both unhealthy and unsustainable in the long run. (Also, can we just give up the endless obsession with weight-loss now anyway? Unless it’s medically advisable, we’re bored of our Instagram feeds being filled with #transformationtuesday’s)
Helen Adams, our expert nutritionist, states that the healthiest diet – and we mean that as a noun not a verb – should mean that your plate is always in the following proportions: ‘half non-starchy vegetables, one quarter protein and one quarter carbohydrates.’ She also maintains that a healthy lifestyle is all about balance, which means having that dessert you really want when you’re out for dinner this weekend, because one cake isn’t going to ruin your life (gasp, shock, horror).
So, this is your happy Friday reminder that actually, you shouldn’t feel guilty about going for pizza tonight or filling up on roast potatoes on Sunday. See ya Atkins, we’re off to value ourselves based on how incredibly fabulous we are, not how many carbs we’ve eaten this week…