Eating Low-Carb? Add Some Soy and You'll Live Longer

Less meat in your diet could keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk for cancer

Are you low-carbing to lose weight? If you want to live longer, focus on adding more tofu -- and less bacon -- to your plate, says a new study by the American College of Physicians (ACP).

The Zone, Atkins and South Beach diets promote plans that limit bread, rice, fruits and starchy vegetables. Instead, meals are centered on meat, fish, eggs and non-starchy vegetables (like spinach, cauliflower and broccoli). In the ACP’s Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers compared the effects of this kind of low-carbing to a plant-based approach (sometimes called “Eco-Atkins”) that emphasizes soy-based proteins and low-starch vegetables.

In a study involving more than 130,000 people over 26 years, researchers determined that traditional low-carbers had higher rates of death from all causes -- including heart disease and cancer -- than those who took the Eco-Atkins approach.

So what does this mean? Low-carb diets help many lose weight, but how long you’ll be around to enjoy your skinny jeans depends on whether you’re a tofu-and-nuts low-carber or a steak-and-sausage one. The difference lies in eating less meat and more unsaturated fats and dietary fiber, which provide more of the healthy, life-extending stuff -- vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

So if low-carbing works for you, consider altering your approach. Experiment with tofu -- try adding it to a stir-fry instead of meat. Think green and add more low-carb vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and string beans to your plate. And go nutty -- almonds, cashews, peanut butter and macadamia nuts are low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats. There are even some low-carb fruits, including kiwi, prunes, peaches, apricots and grapes (just watch the serving size).

Do you follow a low-carb diet? Would you be willing to trade in your t-bone for tofurkey? Chime in below!

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