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Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality

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  • Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality

    I found this article this morning and wonder what you guys think of it?
    Background: Data on the long-term association between low-carbohydrate diets and mortality are sparse.

    Objective: To examine the association of low-carbohydrate diets with mortality during 26 years of follow-up in women and 20 years in men.
    My paleo food photos

  • #2
    Interesting...although I lack the brain power to interpret that kind of stuff.


    • #3
      We saw a good deal of this many months ago and various bloggers dissected it, if somebody could be so kind as to track some of them down (I'm too lazy). Denise Minger's was all right and she kindly put the data into tables but maybe there is a better one. I remember some low carb chick did one that was far beyond what my talents could produce. But here goes my take...

      Basically what we have to remember about these fallacious "holist" studies is that there a dozens of little differences between each group that aren't necessarily going to reflect a scientifically informed low carbohydrate diet by what happens on the low carb animal diet that they have data for. Basically their populations as a whole made egregious mistakes that I would never make and so you can't say that what they do applies to me. Like the "animal" group drastically increases dietary arachidonic acid without increasing omega 3s, which will cause a drastic increase in inflammation and thus disease. They say that 1.5g of omega 3 was consumed per day in each "animal" decile but we can't know if this was oxidized junk fish oil that didn't even get turned into eicosanoids or if it was premium wild salmon. Red/processed meat wasn't really a significant source of calories yet animal fat was massive in the highest tertile of animal food consumption, meaning that they ate a ton of chicken, turkey and pork (maybe red meat but I have a hard time. believing that most of that fat was chicken and turkey). So they made up their numbers to look like polyunsaturated fat didn't change, but if you increase fat by that much without much increase in beef and bison fat (they have low omega 6) you will drastically increase your arachidonic acid, no doubt about it. You increase animal fat that much without decreasing plant fat much, you increase your arachidonic acid. I know the table doesn't say it but it looks like they pretty much assigned all animal fats of all types the fat composition of butter, which invalidates your data since not all of that was butter.

      The point I made at the time is that if you increase polyunsaturated arachidonic acid massively without increasing omega 3s and if your omega 3s probably don't even get absorbed, you will die. See Omega-6 Fat Research News & Commentary: Prostate Cancer Growth Increases with Omega-6 Diet, but Slows with Omega-3.

      ButI pick omega 6 meats like beef and bison more often than the higher omega 6 ones and he ensures a decent intake of good quality omega 3s from fish, so you can't say that Stabby's diet is anything like anything from those studies. There are a lot of other confounding factors that are possible too. Nutrient status for instance. And none of the meats were grassfed so you super duper can't say that about what I eat.

      What if I labeled a population "animal low carb" and cooked all of the meat in partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil and then tried to extrapolate those results to what Stabby and Mark Sisson eat? Yeah. Oh and of course all of the vegans rejoiced at the overwhelming evidence that meat fucking kills you dead . If I see a study like this I usually say "observational and plagued with confounding factors and variables that influence results in ways that might not be necessarily the be able to be extrapolated to what I would do based on the empirical biochemical evidence I have looked at" and throw it out because it is fallacious. It is called equivocation. Don't call things by the same name when they are profoundly different and then expect truths about one to shed light on the other. Or else you will be very very wrong all of the time.

      edit: here is denise's post with the data tables int. I'm not sure how I really feel about her crit, I think it is kind of weak, but she gives us the tables. If anyone remembers other crits post 'em.
      Last edited by Stabby; 11-02-2011, 09:26 PM.
      Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

      Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!


      • #4
        The full paper is only available with a fee. I don't care enough. But one red flag to me was the mention of the Nurses Health Study. If this is the paper I've seen referenced elsewhere, they took the lowest carb quintile and compared it to the top. None of the nurses actually ate low carb as we understand it, they all ate variants of the SAD. Some were lower carb than others, but all were way too high.



        • #5
          Originally posted by Stabby View Post
          We saw a good deal of this many months ago and various bloggers dissected it, if somebody could be so kind as to track some of them down (I'm too lazy). Denise Minger's was all right and she kindly put the data into tables but maybe there is a better one. I remember some low carb chick did one that was far beyond what my talents could produce. But here goes my take....
          Thanks for that, I did not think that the diet of those people would be anything like ours and so those results would not apply to us.
          My paleo food photos


          • #6
            100% of people on low carb diets experience mortality-related events.
            Conclusion: mortality is caused by eating bacon. Bacon is worth losing ones' immortality/vampire genetics. Carry on.


            • #7
              HAHA yes, 100% of people polled, who ate food died.
              My paleo food photos


              • #8
                Good grief, that paper says practically nothing. This is from a previous paper that describes the processes they used to ascertain whether the participants ate low carb

                "Briefly, we calculated the total dietary glycemic load by multiplying the carbohydrate content of each food by its glycemic index (the glycemic index of glucose is 100) and then multiplied this value by the frequency of consumption and summed these values for all foods. Dietary glycemic load, therefore, represents both the quality and quantity of carbohydrate consumed, liach unit of glycemic load represents the equivalent blood glucose-raising effect of 1 g of pure glucose.


                We divided the study participants into 11 strata each of fat, protein, and carbohydrate intake, expressed as a percentage of energy (Table 1). For fat and protein, women in the highest stratum received 10 points for that macronutrient, women in the next stratum received 9 points, and so on down to women in the lowest stratum, who received 0 points. For carbohydrate, the order of the strata was reversed; those with the lowest carbohydrate intake received 10 points and those with the highest carbohydrate intake received 0 points. We used the percentage of energy consumed instead of absolute intake to reduce bias due to underreporting of food consumption and to represent dietary composition.

                The points for each of the three macronutrients were then summed to create the overall diet score, which ranged from 0 (the lowest fat and protein intake and the highest carbohydrate intake) to 30 (the highest protein and fat intake and the lowest carbohydrate intake). Therefore, the higher the score, the more closely the participant's diet followed the pattern of a low-carbohydrate diet. Thus, the score was termed the "lowcarbohydrate-diet score."

                We also created two additional low-carbohydrate-diet scores. One was calculated according to the percentage of energy as carbohydrate, the percentage of energy as animal protein, and the percentage of energy as animal tat, and the other was calculated according to the percentage of energy as carbohydrate, the percentage of energy as vegetable protein, and the percentage of energy as vegetable fat (Table 1)."

                The percentage of daily intake of macronutrients for 'overall low-carb'

                carbs Women 60 - 37 and Men 60 - 35
                animal protein women 9.6 - 17.8 and men 8.2 - 18.2
                vege protein women 5.4 - 4.5 and men 5.7 - 4.3
                animal fat women 12.9 - 25.2 and men 11.8 - 26.2
                vegetable fat women 12.9 - 14.7 and men 12.3 - 13.8

                Of particular interest is that all groups include daily alcohol intake, whole grains (between 9 and 32g per day), and red or processed meat servings ranging from 0.6 - 1.2 per day. They also excluded people with 'unreasonably high' calorie diets, so everyone sits in the range around 1650 - 1821kcal (women) and 2000kcal (men).

                We don't actually know what these folk were eating, but it's a safe bet that as a cohort they weren't eating primal. It seems to me that if anyone was eating according to primal/paleo guidelines, they were probably excluded from the study based on their 'unreasonable' stats.
                Started Feb 18 2011

                Tried basic primal and almost everything else in pursuit of IBS control, mood stability, and weight loss.

                Journalling here