Study describes features of a ‘longevity diet’

Summary: Researchers have identified an optimal diet for prolonging longevity comprising various aspects of diet, from food composition and caloric intake to the duration and frequency of fasting periods.

Source: USC

Examining a range of research from studies in laboratory animals to epidemiological research in human populations gives scientists a clearer picture of the kind of nutrition that may offer the best chance for longer, healthier lives. , said Professor Valter Longo of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

In an article including a review of the literature published on April 28 in CellLongo and co-author Rozalyn Anderson of the University of Wisconsin describe the “longevity diet,” a multi-pillared approach based on studies of various aspects of diet, food composition, and calorie intake at the duration and frequency of fasting periods.

“We explored the link between nutrients, fasting, genes and longevity in short-lived species, and linked these links to clinical and epidemiological studies in primates and humans, including centenarians” , Longo said.

“By taking a multi-system, multi-pillar approach based on more than a century of research, we can begin to define a longevity diet that represents a solid foundation for nutrient recommendations and for future research.”

What and when to eat for longevity

Longo and Anderson reviewed hundreds of studies on nutrition, disease, and longevity in lab animals and humans and combined them with their own studies on nutrients and aging.

The analysis included popular diets such as total calorie restriction, the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet, vegetarian and vegan diets, and the Mediterranean diet.

The article also included a review of different forms of fasting, including a short-term diet that mimics the body’s response to fasting, intermittent fasting (frequent and short-term), and periodic fasting (two or more days of fasting or diets mimicking fasting more than twice a month).

In addition to reviewing data on lifespan from epidemiological studies, the team linked these studies to specific dietary factors affecting several longevity regulatory genetic pathways shared by animals and humans that also affect risk markers. of disease, including levels of insulin, C-reactive protein, insulin-like growth factor 1, and cholesterol.

The authors report that the key features of the optimal diet appear to be moderate to high intake of carbohydrates from unrefined sources, low but sufficient protein from mostly plant sources, and enough plant fat to provide about 30% of energy requirements. .

Ideally, the meals of the day would all take place within an 11-12 hour window, allowing for a daily fasting period, and a 5-day cycle of a fasting or mimicking diet every 3-4 months may also help reduce insulin resistance. , blood pressure and other risk factors for people at increased risk of disease, Longo added.

He described what a diet for longevity might look like in real life: “Lots of legumes, whole grains and vegetables; some fish; no red meat or charcuterie and very little white meat; low-sugar and refined grains; good levels of nuts and olive oil, and dark chocolate.

What is the continuation of the longevity diet

The next step in longevity diet research will be a 500-person study that will take place in southern Italy, Longo said.

The Longevity Diet has both similarities and differences to the Mediterranean-style diets often seen in super-aging “blue zones,” including Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Loma Linda, California. Common diets in these known communities for large numbers of people aged 100 or over are often largely plant-based or pescatarian and relatively low in protein.

But the longevity diet represents an evolution of those “century-old diets,” Longo explained, citing the recommendation to limit food intake to 12 hours a day and to have several short periods of fasting each year.

Ideally, the meals of the day would all take place within an 11-12 hour window, allowing for a daily fasting period, and a 5-day cycle of a fasting or mimicking diet every 3-4 months may also help reduce insulin resistance. , blood pressure and other risk factors for people at increased risk of disease. Image is in public domain

In addition to general characteristics, the longevity diet must be tailored to individuals based on gender, age, health status and genetics, Longo noted. For example, people over 65 may need to increase protein in order to counteract frailty and loss of lean body mass, as Longo’s own studies have shown higher amounts of protein to be better for older people. people over 65 but not optimal for those under 65, he said.

For people looking to optimize their diet for longevity, he said it’s important to work with a healthcare provider who specializes in nutrition to customize a plan that focuses on small changes that can be adopted for life, rather only on big changes that would result in a major detrimental loss. body fat and lean body mass, followed by a resumption of lost fat, once the person leaves the very restrictive diet.

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“The Longevity Diet is not a dietary restriction intended solely to induce weight loss, but a lifestyle focused on slowing aging that can complement standard health care and, taken as a preventative, will help avoid morbidity and maintain health into old age,” he said. mentioned.

About this diet and longevity research news

Author: Press office
Source: USC
Contact: Press office – USC
Picture: Image is in public domain

Original research: Free access.
“Nutrition, longevity and disease: from molecular mechanisms to interventions” by Valter Longo et al. Cell


Nutrition, longevity and disease: from molecular mechanisms to interventions

The diet as a whole, encompassing food composition, calorie intake, and the duration and frequency of fasting periods, affects the length of time that health and functional ability are maintained.

Here, we analyze aging and nutrition studies in simple organisms, rodents, monkeys, and humans to link longevity to conserved growth and metabolic pathways and describe their role in aging and age-related diseases. ‘age.

We focus on feasible nutritional strategies that delay aging and/or prevent disease through epidemiological, model, clinical, and century-old organism studies and emphasize the need to avoid malnutrition and frailty.

These findings are integrated to define a longevity regimen based on a multi-pillar approach adjusted for age and health status to optimize lifespan and lifespan in humans.

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