Which diet is the “right diet” if you are looking to live a long and healthy life? There’s no shortage of trendy meal plans out there these days, but for many people, the choice comes down to what foods they don’t eat. However, a new study finds that middle-aged adults who avoid high-fat foods tend to live longer than those who choose a low-carb diet.
As people age, they need less energy from food, so the study authors say it’s important for older people to get the right nutrients in their diet. Some studies have looked at low-carb or low-fat diets that are supposed to help with weight loss and heart health. However, recent research shows that the type of carbohydrates and fats you eat may be more important than just eating less of them. For example, eating whole grains instead of refined grains and choosing unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats may be better for your health. However, scientists don’t know much about how these diets affect the long-term health of older people.
In the new study, researchers tested six different diets to see how well people followed them. They wanted to find out if these diets were related to how long people lived and what they died of. Over 500,000 adults in the United States participated in the study. They also wanted to see if replacing low-quality carbohydrates and saturated fats with better options would affect people’s risk of dying.
Researchers from the US and China looked at a large group of people aged 50 to 71 from across the US. They answered questions about their eating habits, health and lifestyle to help the team understand their diet. People with certain diseases or other health problems were excluded, so the final group was 371,159 people.
The study authors used a special survey to understand what types of foods the participants ate and how often. They looked at the amounts of carbohydrates, fats and proteins people consumed and created scores to measure how well they adhered to various diets. These scores helped the researchers understand how healthy or unhealthy the diet was.
To see if these diets affected how long people lived and how they died, the researchers looked at whether the participants died and what caused them to die. They used a statistical method called Cox proportional hazards regression to see if there was a relationship between diets and people’s chances of dying.
The researchers also tested different groups of people, such as those with different lifestyles, to see if the results were the same for everyone. They ran additional tests to make sure their findings were reliable, such as testing whether the overall quality of the diet was more important than the types of nutrients people ate.
Finally, the team looked at what would happen if people replaced some unhealthy carbohydrates and fats with healthier options, while keeping the total number of calories the same. They wanted to see if this change would affect the chances of dying.
The results show that people who followed a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) with unhealthy food had a higher chance of dying prematurely. Meanwhile, those who followed a low-fat diet (LFD) with healthy foods were less likely to die. Participants who smoked or used to smoke were at an even higher risk of dying if they followed an unhealthy low-carb diet.
When it came to heart-related deaths, the unhealthy LCD also increased the risk, while the healthy LFD lowered the risk. For cancer-related deaths, an unhealthy LCD increased the risk of dying from all cancers and lung cancer, while a healthy LFD reduced these risks.
Replacing some unhealthy nutrients, such as low-quality carbohydrates or saturated fats, with healthier options such as plant-based protein or quality carbohydrates lowered the risk of death from all causes, heart-related problems, and cancer.
In short, eating a healthy, low-fat diet and replacing unhealthy nutrients with healthier options can lower your risk of death from various causes, including heart-related problems and cancer.
While low-carb diets of any kind had the highest risks of all-cause death, heart-related problems, and cancer, the other four diets studied showed somewhat lower risks of all-cause death, but not as much as the low, healthy diets.
Previous research has had mixed results about how carbohydrates affect our health. Some find that too many carbs can be bad, while others report that the right amount of carbs isn’t a problem. This research suggests that it is more important to focus on the quality of carbohydrates and fats in our diet and not just the quantities.
In conclusion, the study suggests that for healthy aging, it is better to adhere to a diet low in unhealthy carbohydrates and saturated fat, while focusing on high-quality plant-based carbohydrates and proteins. It’s never too late to switch to a healthier diet to improve our overall health and lower our risk of death from various causes.
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