Diet quality counts more than type of diet

In the journals

Simply following a low-carb or low-fat diet is less important than including high-quality healthy foods within those diets — and the latter may help you live longer, says a recent study published online Jan. 21, 2020, by JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers tracked deaths from all causes among 37,233 adults over a 15-year period. The study included data on the diets of people participating in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The diets were scored based on their specific types of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, which determined if people followed a primarily low-carb diet or low-fat diet and the quality of foods they ate.

The researchers found that there was no significant difference in death rates between the people in the low-fat or low-carb group whose diets emphasized high-quality foods (such as whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, whole fruits, and nuts). They also found risk of death to be the same for low-fat and low-carb eaters that included more unhealthy foods (such as red and processed meat, butter, refined grains, and added sugar). What did differ significantly was the higher likelihood of premature death in people with low food quality scores whether their diet was low fat or low carb.

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