In a new study, researchers have found the key to why high-protein diets are unhealthy and can lead to shortened lifespans.
The research was conducted by a team at the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).
Science has known for some time that eating too much, in particular protein, reduces lifespan. However, the reason is not clear.
In the study, the team used worms and fruit flies to investigate how diet influenced the speed of protein synthesis.
The results clearly showed that increased nutrient levels speed up protein synthesis within cells. The faster this process occurs the more errors are made.
It’s similar to everyday activities like driving – the faster you go, the more likely you are to make a mistake.
The resulting build-up of faulty proteins within cells compromises health and shortens lifespan.
The research also reinforces established links between a low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet and longer, healthier lives – especially when it comes to brain health.
It suggests carbohydrates aren’t necessarily the dieting demons they are sometimes made out to be.
The team says the key is balance and knowing the difference between ‘good’ carbs and ‘bad’ carbs.
Eating high-fiber carbohydrates like those found in fruit, vegetables, and unprocessed grains and seeds will produce the healthiest benefits.
This is similar to the traditional Mediterranean diet which has well-established links to longevity.
One author of the study is SAHMRI Nutrition and Metabolism Theme Leader Professor Christopher Proud.
The study is published in Current Biology.
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