Study: Controlling Protein Intake May Be Key to a Long and Healthy Life

seniors CROP.jpg

05 Mar 2014 --- While it's clear that diet can affect longevity, there's great uncertainty about which combinations of foods are best for attaining a long and healthy life. Now two groups of researchers publishing in the March 4 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism each suggest that low protein intake may be a key factor, at least until old age.

The first study suggests that consuming moderate to high levels of animal protein prompts a major increase in cancer risk and mortality in middle-aged adults, while elderly individuals have the opposite result. Meanwhile, the second team of researchers found that a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet led to a shorter lifespan in mice. Both studies find that not all calories are created equal—diet composition and animal protein intake are key players in overall health and longevity.

"We studied simple organisms, mice, and humans and provide convincing evidence that a high-protein diet—particularly if the proteins are derived from animals—is nearly as bad as smoking for your health," says the University of Southern California's Dr. Valter Longo, who is the senior author of one of the papers.

By analyzing information on 6,831 middle-aged and older adults participating in NHANES III, a nationally representative dietary survey in the United States, Dr. Longo and his team found that individuals aged 50 years who reported eating a high-protein diet (with more than 20% of their calories coming from protein) were four times more likely to die of cancer or diabetes and nearly twice as likely to die from any cause in the following 18 years. Also, a moderate-protein diet was associated with a 3-fold increase in cancer mortality. These effects were either abolished or reduced in individuals eating a high-protein diet that was mainly plant based. For people older than 65 years, however, the effects on mortality were reversed: those who consumed high amounts of protein had a 28% reduced risk of dying from any cause and a 60% reduced risk of dying from cancer. Similar beneficial effects were observed for the moderate-protein-intake group.

The researchers found that the effects of protein on an individual's risk of dying may be caused in part by the activation of growth hormone and the growth factor IGF-1. "Notably, the activity of these factors, but also body weight, declines naturally with aging, which may explain why older people not only did not benefit but appeared to do worse if they ate a low-protein diet," Dr. Longo explains. Additional experiments in mice suggested that aging reduces the body's ability to absorb or process proteins. Also, experiments in cells revealed that certain amino acids, which make up proteins, can reduce cellular protection and increase DNA damage, both factors that are likely to be at the center of the cancer-promoting effects of proteins in humans.

In the second study by Simpson's group in Australia conducted in hundreds of mice on 25 different diets, investigators who examined the effects of protein, fat, and carbohydrate on energy intake, metabolic health, aging, and longevity found that a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet resulted in reduced food intake and body fat, but it also led to a shorter lifespan and poor cardiometabolic health. A low-protein, high-fat diet had the most detrimental effects, while a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet was best, resulting in longer lifespan and better cardiometabolic health, despite also increasing food intake and body fat. The researchers also found that, contrary to popular opinion, calorie restriction had no beneficial effect on lifespan. Caloric restriction without malnutrition has been consistently shown to increase longevity in a number of animal models, including yeast, worms, and mice.

"The advice we are always given is to eat a healthy balanced diet, but what does that mean? We have some idea, but in relation to nutritional composition we don't know terribly well," says co-author Prof. David Le Couteur of the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre in Australia. "This research represents an important step in finding out."

The investigators predict that a diet with moderate amounts of high-quality protein that is also relatively low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates will yield the best metabolic health and the longest life.

"We have shown explicitly why it is that calories aren't all the same—we need to look at where the calories come from and how they interact," says senior author Prof. Steve Simpson, also of the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre. "This research has enormous implications for how much food we eat, our body fat, our heart and metabolic health, and ultimately the duration of our lives."

Cell Metabolism, Levine et al.: "Low Protein Intake is Associated with a Major Reduction in IGF-1, Cancer, and Overall Mortality in the 65 and Younger but Not Older Population."

Cell Metabolism, Solon-Biet et al.: "The ratio of macronutrients, not caloric intake, dictates cardiometabolic health, aging and longevity in ad libitum-fed mice."

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

False energy boosting claims? Dextro Energy advert deemed misleading by UK advertising watchdog

15 Feb 2019 --- The UK’s advertising watchdog, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has ruled that a recent advertisement for Dextro Energy Glucose Tablets wrongly implies that the product has energy boosting capabilities and exaggerates the product’s vitamin C content. An energy boosting claim would need to be authorized on the EU Register of nutrition and health claims made on foods to be allowed.

Health & Nutrition News

“Ready for the keto comeback”: Abitec Corporation pegs keto-friendly ingredient range

15 Feb 2019 --- Nutritional and functional lipids manufacturer Abitec Corporation is “close to launching” an MCT powder on a fiber carrier that will be keto friendly and dairy free. This comes as there is huge market potential for its portfolio of keto-friendly ingredients, as the diet’s popularity continues to spike.

Health & Nutrition News

Weekly roundup: Ulrick & Short launches “scilia” range of insoluble fiber, PURIS partners with Midwestern BioAg

15 Feb 2019 --- In nutrition news this week, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Director General, Dr. Shenggen Fan, has become a member of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Food Systems for Nutrition. Food Supplements Europe (FSE) welcomed leading European trade bodies AFEPADI, SANI, SFSA and SISTE, and Australia-based Swisse Wellness in order to make positive contributions to the supplement sector. PURIS has entered a partnership with Midwestern BioAg (MBA) to promote organic farming in the US and Ulrick & Short has launched “scilia”, a range of insoluble fiber ingredients.

Health & Nutrition News

“Aging well starts young”: Preventative approach widens NPD scope

14 Feb 2019 --- Health and wellness are important for consumers across all age groups and life stages, united by a common goal of “aging well.” The nutrition industry is increasingly approaching the topic of aging in a broad manner, tapping into a range of market areas from bone and joint health to energy and alertness. Long gone is a negative “anti-aging” philosophy and celebrated is an approach touting “positive aging” or “aging well,” according to industry experts.

Health & Nutrition News

Maternal supplementation can increase infant birth size, but access barriers remain, study warns

12 Feb 2019 --- For women in resource-poor settings, taking a daily nutritional supplement before conception or in early pregnancy may provide enough of a boost to improve growth of the fetus, according to a study funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Maternal under-nutrition in low-income countries has repeatedly been linked to negative outcomes for their children, such as chronic nutritional deprivation. However, a further study published in BMC Nutrition highlights how many barriers remain in accessing women in more impoverished and rural areas to provide adequate nutritional interventions.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/headlines/Study-Controlling-Protein-Intake-May-Be-Key-to-a-Long-and-Healthy-Life.html