It seems that low-carbohydrate diets are all the rage these days with trends like the Paleo and Keto diet emerging and taking over. The appeal is that if you limit carb intake, your body will essentially turn into a fat burning machine. In lieu of carbohydrates, you instead increase your protein and fat intake. But, are these diets really healthy?
It seems that evidence points to these low-carb diets being rather unhealthy, unless they’re fully plant-based! When investigating the long term effects of restricting carbohydrates from one’s diet and mortality, animal based versus plant based protein were tested.
The experiment was completed by The Lancet Public Health with funding provided by National Institutes of Health that studied 15,428 adults between the ages of 45-64 years old all involved in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities group . The participants were asked to complete a dietary questionnaire, and all reported consuming lower caloric diets. Possible linear connections were made to show a link between percentage of energy used from carbohydrate intake and all-cause mortality. The effects of plant based and animal based protein on mortality were also tested.
After a follow up expanding over 25 years, there were 6,283 reported deaths within the ARIC group. After further analysis, it was found that low carb intake was associated with an increased mortality risk, with the least amount of risk coming from a consumption of 50-55% carbs. What is even more interesting is that the risk was even higher for low carb dieters consuming their fat and protein from animal sources like lamb, beef, pork, and chicken. On the other hand, those getting their protein and fat from plant sources like vegetables, nuts, and peanut butter were associated with lower rates of mortality all together.
This study suggests that the source of protein and fat significantly impacts the linear connection between carbohydrate intake and mortality rates! If opting for a low-carb diet, a plant-based diet may be your best option for protein and fat intake!
Trying to opt for a low-carb, high-protein vegan diet?
Fennel Bowl with Creamy White Beans and Dry Roasted Vegetables
This fennel bowl is low in carbohydrates, but packed with protein and fiber from the white beans! It’s also packed with unique flavors from fresh fennel and jalapeno.
Crispy Thai Almond Butter Tofu
Image Source: Crispy Thai Almond Butter Tofu
This tofu dish is absolutely delicious, low-carb, and filled with protein from the tofu and almond butter dressing!
Jerk Tempeh Lettuce Wraps with Mango Basil Aioli
Image Source: Jerk Tempeh Lettuce Wraps with Mango Basil Aioli
Tempeh is an excellent source of plant-based protein, and the jerk seasoning houses a lot of flavor. Serving these in lettuce wraps also makes it a low-carb option!
We also recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
Lead Image Source: Zucchini Noodle Carbonara/One Green Planet