New study on effect of carbs on morbidity

A wide ranging international study reported in The Lancet this month looks at the effect that carbs, or lack thereof, have on morbidity/life expectancy.

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For those who don’t have time to read the full report from this large study, here is a condensed version of the conclusions:
“Both high and low percentages of carbohydrate diets were associated with increased mortality, with minimal risk observed at 50–55% carbohydrate intake. Low carbohydrate dietary patterns favouring animal-derived protein and fat sources, from sources such as lamb, beef, pork, and chicken, were associated with higher mortality, whereas those that favoured plant-derived protein and fat intake, from sources such as vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, and whole-grain breads, were associated with lower mortality, suggesting that the source of food notably modifies the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality.”

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Simply put, those who brag about breakfasts of boiled eggs in melted butter, fried chicken lunches and steak and a single spinach leaf for dinner , will die 5 to 7 years before those who chose either a moderate carb diet or a low carb diet with healthy fats from plants.

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The “study” has also been very widely criticized. It was based on 2 x 66 question questionaires 6 years apart. The low carb was not particularly low carb either at about 36% carbs (or thereabouts). I would not place much credence on a 'study" that is purely observational.

The journal was not The Lancet, but an associated pay for publication journal.

Bottom line, do what works for you. I am very sure that an a1c of 7+ on higher carb is more personally risky for me than an a1c of 5.2 on low carb, with plenty of plant foods and animal sourced protein.


My study conducted by me on me only,includes only information that helps me control T2 and makes me feel heathy. Energetic and connected with others. Basically low carb.
So far so good.

Interesting how many of the discussions involving management of diabetes, particularly those including low-carb, remind me of the rabid and often confrontational discussions about abortion back in the 1960s. It’s almost like those hooked on the fantastic short term effects of going low carb have had a religious experience and are on a holy mission. Well good luck to everyone, personally I believe we are all different and what works for one will not necessarily work for another, no matter what those who believe they have found the holy grail declare. Personally I have managed my diabetes type 2 very well for the last 20 years using a combination of activity ( a 40 minute walk after each meal) and using only low GI carbs like barley, rye and oatmeal. But I am not saying that will work for everyone, just that it works perfectly for me.

These results do make sense if you keep in mind the note about the dietary patterns. It makes perfect sense that if you substitute carbs with tons of red meat and the wrong fats your health will suffer.

However, I recall other studies that showed little difference between protein mainly coming from white meat and protein coming mainly from plants, health wise.

My gut feeling is that sticking to a diet mostly made of white meat and lots of veggies and salad is going to be good for you. Red meat has been known for a long while now to be problematic when consumed in great quantities. And for diabetics, the drawbacks of reducing carbs are overshadowed by the benefits. You don’t have to go full low carb or even keto for that - reducing carbs somewhat is already enough.