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Is Eating Carbs Really Linked to a Longer Life? Yes, But Only a Specific Amount


Low-carb diets are extremely popular right now, but they may not be the healthiest choices for some people, according to new research. However, before you get excited about the idea of devouring heaps of pasta tonight, it’s worth noting that high-carb diets are probably not the best bet for most people either. Instead, eating a moderate amount of carbs might be the right answer for folks struggling to find the right balance.

The August 2018 study published in The Lancet Public Health looked at 15,428 adults aged 45 to 64 in the United States. Researchers found that both low-carb diets and high-carb diets were linked with an increase in mortality, while moderate carb consumers had the lowest risk of mortality. So what does mortality mean in the context of this study? During a median follow-up of 25 years, a total of 6,283 participants died. Then, the researchers found a “U-shape” link between overall carb intake and the participants’ life expectancy. 

Researchers estimated that after age 50, the average life expectancy was an additional 33 years for those with a moderate carb intake, totaling 83 years. For those following low-carb diets, the average life expectancy after age 50 included an extra 29 years, totaling 79. And for the people who followed high-carb diets, their life expectancy after 50 included an additional 32 years, with 82 as the total.

We know what you’re thinking right now: What the heck is a moderate amount of carbs? And how many carbs should I eat to follow this diet? Well, every person’s body varies, so the right amount of carbs for you might be different from the right amount of carbs for a friend or family member. But in the context of the study, the people who followed a mid-range diet got about 50 percent of their daily calories from carbs. Low-carb diets included less than 40 percent of the calories from carbs, and high-carb diets included more than 60 percent.

Remember that even though the moderate number of carbs may still seem high to you, they don’t all fit in the categories of bread, pasta, and baked goods. After all, some of the healthiest carbs are present in fruits and vegetables, as well as other nutritious food groups. It’s also worth noting that a moderate amount of carbs might not be the right choice for everyone, especially if you have a certain health condition or specific dietary needs. Always talk to your doctor before starting any new eating plan.

Next, learn about some of the tastiest superfoods that can help you live longer in the video below:

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