Fad diets always come and go, but the low carb ones seem to have stuck around longer than others. The Atkins, Keto, and Paleo diets all have different names but have one major thing in common: they dictate that people should avoid carbs and eat a whole lotta meat.
A recent study, however, sheds some doubt about how healthy these low-carb diets really are. The analysis, published in The Lancet, found that people who eat a moderate amount of carbs actually live longer than those who avoid carbohydrates.
Over 15,000 people participated in the study. Researchers found that people with the longest lifespans receive about 50-55% of their calories from carbs, while those who got 30% or less from carbs live an average of four fewer years. Interestingly, the study also found that people who receive 70% or more of their calories from carbs died one year earlier on average than the 50-55% crowd. When people avoided carbs in favor of meat, their chances of an earlier death rose, but if they shied away from carbs in favor of foods with plant-based fats and proteins, such as veggies, nuts, and beans, their life expectancy went up.
Bottom line: eating a plant-based diet can help lower your blood pressure and the risk of diabetes and some kinds of cancer. Fad diets (like the low-carb/extra meat) may help you lose weight in the short term, but the long-term results may not be so healthy.