If you want to live longer, you are better off on a low carb diet which is vegetable based, rather than one whose proteins are sourced from animals, according to a study involving 129,716 men and women published this week in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The researchers found lower overall mortality rates and lower death rates from cancer and cardiovascular disease among the low carb veggie people.
The researchers, from Simmons College, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, and National University of Singapore, Singapore, used data from the Nurses' Health study of 85,168 females aged 34 to 59 years and 44,548 males aged 40 to 75. They were all on low carb diets; some on animal-derived proteins and other on plant sourced proteins. Follow-ups occurred with the women from 1980 through 2006, and with the men from 1986 through 2006. None of the participants had heart disease, cancer, or diabetes at the start of the study.
During the follow-up period a total of 12,555 of the 129,716 males and females died - 2458 were cardiovascular-related and 5780 were cancer-related in women, while 2746 were cardiovascular-related and 2960 were cancer-related in men
The investigators found that the mortality risk among those on the animal-based diet was "slightly but statistically higher" than it was among the vegetable based dieters. They found that:
- Those on the animal based diet had a higher risk of cancer, and death from cancer
- Those on the vegetable based diet had a lower mortality rate
- Those on the vegetable based diet had a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease
- Consuming more unsaturated fats
- Having a higher intake of dietary fiber
- Having a richer intake of micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (plant compounds with health-protecting qualities)
You can have the initial Atkins-type of low-carb diet, which is loaded with sausages, bacon, steaks, and you can have healthy versions of the low-carb diet with more vegetable- or plant-based protein and fat.
The authors concluded:
A low-carbohydrate diet based on animal sources was associated with higher all-cause mortality in both men and women, whereas a vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet was associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality rates.
What are carbohydrates, fats (lipids), proteins and Nucleic acids?There are four major classes of biomolecules - carbohydrates, proteins, nucleotides (sub-units of DNA and RNA), and lipids. Carbohydrates, or saccharides, are the most abundant of the four. Carbohydrates have several roles in living organisms, including energy transportation, as well as being structural components of plants and arthropods. Carbohydrate derivates are actively involved in fertilization, immune systems, the development of disease, blood clotting and development. Carbohydrates are called carbohydrates because the carbon, oxygen and hydrogen they contain are generally in proportion to form water with the general formula Cn (H2O)n.
The four major classes of biomolecules are:
- Carbohydrates (saccharides) - Molecules consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. A major food source and a key form of energy for most organisms. When combined together to form polymers, carbohydrates can function as long term food storage molecules, as protective membranes for organisms and cells, and as the main structural support for plants and constituents of many cells and their contents.
- Lipids (fats) - Molecules consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. The main constituents of all membranes in all cells (cell walls), food storage molecules, intermediaries in signaling pathways, Vitamins A, D, E and K, cholesterol.
- Proteins - Molecules contain nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They act as biological catalysts (enzymes), form structural parts of organisms, participate in cell signal and recognition factors, and act as molecules of immunity. Proteins can also be a source of fuel.
- Nucleic acids - DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid). These molecules are involved in genetic information, as well as forming structure within cells. They are involved in the storage of all heritable information of all organisms, as well as the conversion of this data into proteins.
"Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality - Two Cohort Studies"
Teresa T. Fung, ScD; Rob M. van Dam, PhD; Susan E. Hankinson, ScD; Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPH; Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH; and Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD
ANN INTERN MED September 7, 2010 153:337-339
What are carbohydrates? What is glucose?
What is the Atkins diet?
What are proteins? How much protein do I need?
Written by Christian Nordqvist