Less protein and more carbs 'may extend life'

03 June 2015 11:32

Cutting down on protein and upping carbohydrates could help people live longer

Cutting down on protein and upping carbohydrates could help people live longer

Eating less protein and more carbohydrates could be the key to living longer, research suggests.

Diet has long been associated with life span.

And the latest study, from a team at the University of Sydney in Australia, recommends eating smaller amounts of high-quality protein and a lot of healthy carbohydrates.

Scientists believe this is more practical for humans than strict calorie restriction, which could actually harm health.

Longer lives

Britons are living longer than ever before.

This means more time in retirement to enjoy the finer things in life, like jetting off to all four corners of the globe on weekend city breaks or week-long beach holidays.

Seniors travel insurance provides the peace of mind needed to fully enjoy the trip of a lifetime abroad, offering round-the-clock medical care, just in case something happens.

But while overseas diets have also previously been associated with living longer, such as the Mediterranean diet, simply cutting down on protein and upping consumption of good carbohydrates could be the answer.

The authors of the new study cite eggs, milk, white meat and soya as good sources of protein, while fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and pulses are listed as healthy carbohydrates.

'Same benefits'

In tests on mice, changing the mix of protein and carbohydrates produced the same benefits as reducing calorie consumption by 40%.

The mice were observed by the researchers for eight weeks as they ate a range of diets with different protein and carbohydrate ratios, in conditions where food was restricted or provided at all times.

They found that the low protein and high carbohydrates diets when food was always available delivered the same benefits as calorie restriction, in terms of insulin activity, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Mice on the low protein and high carbohydrates diets also had a higher metabolism than that of calorie-restricted mice, even though they increased their food and energy intake by as much as 25% to 30%.

Maintaining a 40% caloric reduction in the long term can risk loss of bone mass, libido and fertility.

The scientists claim eating smaller amounts of high-quality protein and a lot of healthy carbohydrates is a more practical alternative, as it produces the same benefits without any of the risks.

The findings were published in the journal Cell Reports.

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