Is there an association between carbohydrate intake and mortalitay?
The medical journal The Lancet published a study in August 2018 (Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis) about whether there is an association between carbohydrate intake and mortality.
The background was that if you do a “low-carb diet” in which you reduce or even do without carbohydrates, it means that you are eating more protein and fat to get your daily energy intake. The long-term impact of low carbohydrate intake on mortality is controversial and depends on whether one eats animal or plant based proteins and fats instead. That’s why researchers from the Lancet study looked at what the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality is.
On the one hand, data from an American study (ARIC) were studied in which over 15,400 adults aged 45-64 completed a questionnaire on carbohydrate intake. This happened over a follow-up period of 25 years. On the other hand, further multinational studies (also on carbohydrate intake) were investigated.
The result: a higher mortality risk was found at both low (below 40% of energy demand) and high (above 70%) carbohydrate intake. The risk of death was lowest in those subjects who had an average carbohydrate intake of 50-55%. In addition, mortality increased when carbohydrates were replaced by animal proteins and fats (beef, pork, lamb or chicken) and declined when the proteins were of plant origin (vegetables, nuts, peanut butter and whole meal bread).
Is there an association between carbohydrate intake and mortalitay? We can conclude that from the energy intake per day – each person has an individual need – the carbohydrate intake should be about 50-55%. We can also read that on the website of the German and the Swiss Nutrition Society. Eating too little or too much carbohydrate over a longer period of time may increase your mortality risk. Above all, a well-balanced and complete nutrion is important to receive vital nutrients.
And if you want to know why the Austrian and the German Nutrition Society recommend wholegrain cereal products, here is the blogpost >>