Wait! You don't need to stop eating carbs! Research shows carbs help healthy ageing

Throw out all the rules books: carbs are actually much better for you than we’ve been told. New research has shown that low protein, high carbohydrate diets can have benefits similar to when calories are restricted i.e. your typical diet.

Published in yesterday issue of Cell Reports, senior author Stephen Simpson, Academic Director of the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre said, “We’ve shown that when compared head-to-head, mice got the same benefits from a low protein, high carbohydrate diet as a 40 per cent caloric restriction diet.

“Except for the fanatical few, no one can maintain a 40 per cent caloric reduction in the long term, and doing so can risk loss of bone mass, libido, and fertility”.

The investigators compared three 8-week diets varying in protein-to-carbohydrate ratio under conditions where food was restricted or food was available at all times. Of the three, low protein, high carbohydrate (LPHC) diets offered when food was always available delivered similar benefits as calorie restriction in terms of insulin, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, despite increased food intake.

Interestingly, the mice eating LPHC diets ate more when they could but their metabolism was still higher than those mice who had restricted calories – and they didn’t gain more wait. There were no benefits of restricting calories in this research.

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“An important next step will be to determine exactly how specific amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, contribute to overall health span and lifespan,” says lead author Samantha Solon-Biet, also of the Charles Perkins Centre.

If the study’s results apply to humans, adjusting protein and carbohydrate intake could lead to healthier ageing in a more realistic manner than drastically cutting calories.

“It still holds true that reducing food intake and body weight improves metabolic health and reduces the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease,” says Simpson. “However, according to these mouse data and emerging human research, it appears that including modest intakes of high-quality protein and plenty of healthy carbohydrates in the diet will be beneficial for health as we age”.

 

Tell us, what sort of diet are you on? Or do you try to eat healthier more consistently?