Monday, September 13, 2010

A Low Carb Diet Will Kill You?

The picture on the left is very obviously two men enjoying a passionate, sexual moment.  The picture on the right is a photo between the legs of a woman wearing a thong bikini.  Couldn't be anything else right?  If you look closer things may not always be what they seem.

An Animal Based Low Carb Diet Will Kill You.  That is the message in a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine titled:  Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality.  The study followed the health of men for 20 years and women for 26 years.  There were almost 130,000 participants and the study started in 1980 for women and 1986 for men.  It concluded in 2006.  

What they surmised from documented deaths and from food questionnaire surveys was that a "low carb", animal protein based diet had a higher mortality (death) rate versus a high carb low animal protein diet.  Ok, so maybe this whole eating like our ancestors who never got cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or auto immune disease was all wrong.  Maybe it does make sense to invent a whole new way of eating that has nothing to do with what man ate for 99.95% of their existence.  Those cavemen who thrived on animal proteins, animal fats, fruits and veggies but only died because of injuries and bacterial infections were way off base.  They needed processed grains and sugars to avoid death and extend their lives.  NOT SO FAST!

This study has been referenced on many sites including herehere, and here.  It is flawed in many ways.  Here are a two of the more glaring misrepresentations:
  1. The supposed "low carb" groups ranged from getting 60% of their daily calories in carbs down to 35%.  The average recommended daily calories being 2,000, that is a range of about 300 grams to 175 grams of carbs per day.  The paleo diet, where carbs only come from fruits and veggies, have an acceptable range of about 25 to 100 grams per day.  This study certainly is not representative of a truly low carb diet or a paleo diet.
  2. The study used food questionnaires to determine what category the subjects fit into.  Food questionnaires are often inaccurate because people are too embarrassed to share what they actually eat.   They administered the questionnaire once at the beginning of the study.  Yes, that is correct.  They asked what they ate once 20 or 26 years ago and assumed nothing changed the during the duration of the study.  RIDICULOUS! Obviously the study organizers have no idea that in the last 30 years, America has eaten less saturated fat and more carbohydrates.  To not do a follow up food questionnaire at the end of the study is irresponsible bordering on unethical.  See graph below illustrating America's change in macronutrient consumption.
This is the kind of information that may be shoved in your face if someone hears you are eating unhealthy like your healthy ancestors did.  Tell them things aren't always what they may appear to be on the surface.  Be aware, be informed.  


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post - if people stopped believing these misinformed "studies" and started eating what makes them feel good our population would not be in the situation it is today (sick and obese)!

Butter is for Lovers!