Cut in protein could extend our lives.
CUTTING down on protein and upping consumption of carbohydrates may be the key to living a longer, healthier life, new research suggests.
In tests on mice, changing the mix of protein and carbs produced the same benefits as reducing calorie consumption by 40%.
Previous research has shown that strict calorie restriction can improve metabolism and extend lifespan across a wide range of species. But such a drastic strategy would be challenging for most people and may harm health. Eating smaller amounts of high-quality protein and a lot of healthy carbohydrates might prove more practical for humans, scientists believe.
Good sources of protein include eggs, milk, white meat and soya. Consuming healthy carbohydrates means choosing foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and pulses, and avoiding refined sugar, white bread and pastries.
Researcher Dr Stephen Simpson, from the University of Sydney in Australia, 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% caloric restriction diet.
"Except for the fanatical few, noone can maintain a 40% caloric reduction in the long-term, and doing so can risk loss of bone mass, libido and fertility."
The mice were observed 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.