Category Archives: Longevity

Both Low- and High-Carb Diets May Kill You

In the research at hand, low-carb was defined as under 40% of calories from carbohydrate, and high-carb was over 70% of calories.

Garlic Naan, a type of flat bread, definitely high-carb

The longevity sweet spot was 50-55% of calories from carbs. You know what? That’s the typical carb percentage in the traditional Mediterranean diet.

If you want to eat low-carb, read more below to identify the possibly healthier substitutions for carbs. Tl;dr version: Eat plant-derived protein and fats.

From a 2018 study in The Lancet Public Health:

Background

Low carbohydrate diets, which restrict carbohydrate in favour of increased protein or fat intake, or both, are a popular weight-loss strategy. However, the long-term effect of carbohydrate restriction on mortality is controversial and could depend on whether dietary carbohydrate is replaced by plant-based or animal-based fat and protein. We aimed to investigate the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality.

Methods

We studied 15 428 adults aged 45–64 years, in four US communities, who completed a dietary questionnaire at enrolment in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study (between 1987 and 1989), and who did not report extreme caloric intake (4200 kcal per day for men and 3600 kcal per day for women). The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. We investigated the association between the percentage of energy from carbohydrate intake and all-cause mortality, accounting for possible non-linear relationships in this cohort. We further examined this association, combining ARIC data with data for carbohydrate intake reported from seven multinational prospective studies in a meta-analysis. Finally, we assessed whether the substitution of animal or plant sources of fat and protein for carbohydrate affected mortality.

Findings

During a median follow-up of 25 years there were 6283 deaths in the ARIC cohort, and there were 40 181 deaths across all cohort studies. In the ARIC cohort, after multivariable adjustment, there was a U-shaped association between the percentage of energy consumed from carbohydrate (mean 48·9%, SD 9·4) and mortality: a percentage of 50–55% energy from carbohydrate was associated with the lowest risk of mortality. In the meta-analysis of all cohorts (432 179 participants), both low carbohydrate consumption (70%) conferred greater mortality risk than did moderate intake, which was consistent with a U-shaped association (pooled hazard ratio 1·20, 95% CI 1·09–1·32 for low carbohydrate consumption; 1·23, 1·11–1·36 for high carbohydrate consumption). However, results varied by the source of macronutrients: mortality increased when carbohydrates were exchanged for animal-derived fat or protein (1·18, 1·08–1·29) and mortality decreased when the substitutions were plant-based (0·82, 0·78–0·87).

Interpretation

Both high and low percentages of carbohydrate diets were associated with increased mortality, with minimal risk observed at 50–55% carbohydrate intake. Low carbohydrate dietary patterns favouring animal-derived protein and fat sources, from sources such as lamb, beef, pork, and chicken, were associated with higher mortality, whereas those that favoured plant-derived protein and fat intake, from sources such as vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, and whole-grain breads, were associated with lower mortality, suggesting that the source of food notably modifies the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality.

Source: Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis – The Lancet Public Health

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: These types of studies are often unreliable.

 

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One Expert’s Anti-Aging Program

dementia, memory loss, Mediterranean diet, low-carb diet, glycemic index, dementia memory loss

“Darling, think about upping your NMN dose.”

The goal isn’t simply to live longer, but to be vigorous and functional for longer.

David Sinclair is a PhD professor and researcher at Harvard. Harriet Hall, M.D., reviewed his 2019 anti-aging book at Science-Based Medicine. Here’s his current anti-aging regimen as outlined by Dr Hall:

He makes no recommendations for others except “Eat fewer calories”, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, and “Exercise”.

But he argues that if he does nothing, he will age and die, so he has nothing to lose by trying unproven treatments, and he has personally chosen to do these things:

    • He takes a gram each of NMN [nicotinamide mononucleotide] resveratrol, and metformin daily.
    • He takes vitamin D, vitamin K2, and 83 mg. aspirin.
    • He limits sugar, bread, and pasta intake, doesn’t eat desserts, and avoids eating meat from animals.
    • He skips one meal a day.
    • He gets frequent blood tests to monitor biomarkers; if not optimal, he tries to moderate them with food and exercise.
    • He stays active, goes to the gym, jogs, lifts weights, uses the sauna and then dunks in an ice-cold pool.
    • He doesn’t smoke.
    • He avoids microwaved plastic, excessive UV exposure, X-rays, and CT scans.
    • He tries to keep environmental temperatures on the cool side.
    • He maintains a BMI of 23-25 [click to calculate your BMI].

He plans to fine-tune his regimen as research evolves. He acknowledges “It’s impossible to say if my regimen is working…but it doesn’t seem to be hurting.” He says he feels the same at 50 as he did at 30.

Source: Aging: Is It a Preventable Disease? – Science-Based Medicine

For additional science-based info on anti-aging, see P.D. Mangan’s blog.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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70 Is the New 60 (in the U.S.)

…unless you’re an elderly African-American.

Old-school preparation for exercise; stretching actually doesn’t do any good for the average person

From Market Watch:

Better living conditions, easier work, and better health care are all helping shave years off our effective ages, researchers have said. The progress is steady and consistent, they have found. A typical American woman of 67 today is about as healthy as her mom was at age 60, and at 89 she’s likely to be as healthy as her mom was at 75, the report released this week said.

Health-wise, older people are 10 years younger than their grandparents. “A 70-year-old born in 1960 is predicted to be about as healthy as a 60-year-old born in 1910,” the authors wrote. The authors, Ana-Lucia Abeliansky, Devil Erel and Holger Strulik, economists and statisticians at the University of Goettingen in Germany, crunched medical data on thousands of Americans.

Furthermore:

From 1950 to 2000, average life expectancy has risen more in Western Europe than in the U.S. Europeans have gained 11.3 years, on average, compared with 8.6 years for Americans.

Source: Good news for older Americans: 70 is the new 60 (but not for everyone) – MarketWatch

Regular exercise is a reliable fountain of youth.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Dog Owners Have Lower Risk of Death From Stroke and Heart Attack

Young Hank

From UPI:

A pair of new reports found that dog owners have a lower risk of early death than people without canine companionship, particularly when it comes to dying from a heart attack or stroke.

Dog ownership decreases a person’s overall risk of premature death by 24 percent, according to researchers who conducted a review of the available medical evidence.

The benefit is most pronounced in people with existing heart problems. Dog owners had a 65 percent reduced risk of death following a heart attack and a 31 percent reduced risk of death from heart disease, the researchers said.

Source: Having a dog can lower risk of death from heart attack, stroke – UPI.com

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS. What else lowers your risk of premature death? The Mediterranean diet!

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Bariatric Surgery Prolongs Life in PWDs (formerly “diabetics”)

bariatric surgery, Steve Parker MD

Band-type gastric bypass, a type of metabolic surgery

Bariatric surgeries are considered by some experts (mostly surgeons?) to be the most effective way to treat or cure type 2 diabetes. They are effective, assuming you survive the original operation and potential complications, which may require further surgery.

From JAMA Network:

Among patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity, metabolic surgery, compared with nonsurgical management, was associated with a significantly lower risk of incident [heart attack, ischemic stroke, and mortality]. The findings from this observational study must be confirmed in randomized clinical trials.

Source: Association of Metabolic Surgery With Major Adverse Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity | Bariatric Surgery | JAMA | JAMA Network

Steve Parker, M.D.

low-carb mediterranean diet

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Soft Drinks Linked to Premature Death

I enjoy an aspartame-flavored Fresca now and then

The study at hand involved Europeans. It’s the first time I’ve seen artificially-sweetened soft drinks like to premature death.

From JAMA Network:

This study found that consumption of total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drinks was positively associated with all-cause deaths in this large European cohort; the results are supportive of public health campaigns aimed at limiting the consumption of soft drinks.

Source: Association Between Soft Drink Consumption and Mortality in 10 European Countries | Cardiology | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Is the “Oldest Living Person” Really That Old?

Exercise is a fountain of youth available to every one

In The Blue Zones book, Dan Buettner discusses geographic regions where people live significantly longer than average. Sardinia, for example.

From Vox:

We’ve long been obsessed with the super-elderly. How do some people make it to 100 or even 110 years old? Why do some regions — say, Sardinia, Italy, or Okinawa, Japan — produce dozens of these “supercentenarians” while other regions produce none? Is it genetics? Diet? Environmental factors? Long walks at dawn?

A new working paper released on bioRxiv, the open access site for prepublication biology papers, appears to have cleared up the mystery once and for all: It’s none of the above.

Instead, it looks like the majority of the supercentenarians (people who’ve reached the age of 110) in the United States are engaged in — intentional or unintentional — exaggeration.

Source: Study: many of the “oldest” people in the world may not be as old as we think – Vox

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I still think the Mediterranean diet improves longevity.

low-carb mediterranean diet

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