A study from the University of Japan recently made the connection between eating low carb diets and premature death. Study authors state “that the short-term benefits of low-carbohydrate diets for weight lost are potentially irrelevant” (Noto) The study summarized 17 long-term studies done on people eating a low-carbohydrate diet, and pointed to several possibilities for the premature death.
Cardiovascular Disease kills the most people each year.  A low-carb diet can be responsible for short-term reduction in the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Reducing or eliminating carbohydrates in your diet can cause a rapid loss of weight, most of it being water weight. When you eliminate glucose as the main source of energy for the body, it will start burning glycogen, which is stored in muscles. For every gram of glycogen burned, 1.6 grams of water is also lost. (Murray)  This weight can return almost immediately after reintroducing carbohydrates into your diet. A rapid decrease in your weight would initially take some strain off your heart and lungs, but if your weight is yo-yoing up and down, it can lead to long-term stress on the muscles of the cardiovascular system.
Fibre is very important for optimal health. There are two kinds of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre is found in things like oatmeal, flax seeds, and chia seeds. When digested, soluble fibre forms a gel in the intestines. It sticks to any leftover food particles and fat particles, and carries them out of the body through the colon. Because of this, having a diet that is high in fibre is thought to help prevent colon, bowel, and other intestinal cancers. Carbohydrates provide this essential ingredient for normal body function. Since so many sources of insoluble fibre are carbohydrates, a low-carb diet is almost always a low-fibre diet as well. A diet deficient in fibre can lead to constipation, bowel irritation, and possibly cancer.
Along with reducing the possibility of cancer in the digestive tract, fibre is essential in preventing another prevalent disease, diabetes. As it travels through the intestines, fibre picks up any glucose the body hasn’t absorbed, and escorts it out as waste. In doing this, extraneous glucose is not left in the body to be re-absorbed by the blood. When blood sugar levels are consistently high, the pancreas, kidneys, and liver are working overtime to eliminate the stress your body is under. This leads to the eventual breakdown of organs and body systems, and eventually diabetes. When untreated, diabetes can affect almost every part of your body, from your eyes to your feet, and cause terrible systemic problems, and eventually, death.
What can be done?
Follow a diet that is low in simple carbohydrates and instead, focus on high-quality, high-fibre foods like whole grains, brown rice, fruits, and vegetables. The best way to do this is to divide your plate into quarters. One quarter should be low GI, high-nutrient, whole-grain carbs. Another quarter should have protein, such as lean, unprocessed meat, or legumes. The last half of the plate should be a mix of colourful fruits and vegetables. The more colours on your plate, the more nutrients you are getting, along with your essential sugars and fibre. Carbohydrates are not your enemy, they are essential to daily function, and can even help you live longer!