Thousands of people claim to have lost weight on the ketogenic diet, often referred to as the “keto” diet, which requires participants to limit their carbohydrate intake. But according to dietitians, the healthiest diet is a well-rounded one and includes vegetables, healthy fats, legumes, and whole grains.
Business Insider reports that a huge, global study of over 447,000 people around the world was recently published. According to the study, what researchers discovered is that no matter what your daily diet is like, banning entire food groups can improve your health temporarily but can ultimately send you into an early grave.
Most people on the keto diet limit their carb to less than 50 grams a day and eat high-fat foods, but researchers say restrictive diets like this could lead to long-term health problems. There are also other diets that require people to restrict carb intake including Atkins, paleo, and Whole 30.
There is some evidence that low-carb diets could lead to people becoming less tolerant of glucose which can lead to diabetes, but at this point, more research is needed. And according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition when overweight men go on a keto diet, it doesn’t actually help them burn more body fat than a regular regimen does. Instead, it forces them to dramatically curb their carbohydrate intake and stop eating overly processed foods. But experts say our bodies aren’t designed to run on fat and the keto diet shouldn’t be followed for more than a few months at a time.
It’s also important to note that low-carb diets make it easier for people to miss out on important nutrients like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals are commonly found in high-carbohydrate foods such as bananas, oats, and beans which, unfortunately, are often off limits for keto dieters.
The researchers who presented their findings said that people who ate a moderate amount of carbs were more likely to live longer than either low-carb dieters or high-carb dieters. Maciej Banach, a professor at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland who helped write the study said, “Our study suggests that in the long-term, [low-carb diets] are linked with an increased risk of death from any cause, and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer.”
According to Sara Seidelmann, a cardiologist and nutrition researcher, “they were not processed,” she said of the diets of the individuals in the study who lived the longest. “These people would consume whole-grain rice, not white varieties. They’d eat plants like fruits and vegetables, not more processed versions like fruit juice or smoothies.”