Original article written by Dr. Gabe MIRKIN, M.D.
This is a “Must Read” for people interested in longevity.
Recent research show that protein restriction may be far more effective than calorie restriction in prolonging the lives of humans. Many studies show that restricting calories prolongs the lives of yeast, worms, spiders, flies, insects, rats and probably monkeys.
Humans who severely restrict calories have long-life characteristics, such as low cholesterol and blood pressure and hearts that are more than 15 years younger than those of other North Americans their age (Experimental Gerontology, August 2007).
THE KILLER–INSULIN LIKE GROWTH FACTOR
However, most of the test group of humans who restrict calories do not have a drop in a hormone called Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) that appears necessary for living a long time.
High blood levels of IGF-1 are associated with premature aging and diseases of aging such as diabetes and cancer. IGF-1 levels are lower than normal in worms, flies and mice on restricted-calorie diets, but not in humans.
This week a report shows that IGF-1 shortens life by increasing cell DNA genetic damage, and causes cancer by blocking apoptosis that causes cancer cells to kill themselves before they destroy their host (Science Translational Medicine, February 16, 2011).
Luigi Fontana, a professor of medicine at Washington University in St Louis, noticed that most calorie-restricting humans eat high levels of protein, about 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight/day. This is more than the US government-recommended intake of 0.8 g/kg/day, and even higher than the 1.2 g/kg/day that the average American eats.
Dr. Fontana asked humans on calorie restricted diets to reduce their intake of protein to 0.95 g/kg/day. After just three weeks of reduced protein intake, their IGF-1 levels dropped markedly (Aging Cell, September, 2008).
Among the calorie-restricting humans, vegans have lower levels of IGF-1 than meat-eaters (Rejuvenation Research, February 2007).
Strict vegans also have significantly lower IGF-1 levels than people who restrict just calories, even if they are heavier and have more body fat. Strict vegans take in about 10 percent of their calories from protein, whereas those on calorie restriction tended to get 24 percent of calories from protein.
Other data show that diets lower in protein might protect against some cancers. So restricting protein may be more important than restricting calories.
THE BIG LIE
“IF THEY RESTRICT PROTEIN, THEY CAN EAT AS MANY CALORIES AS THEY WANT!”
If fruit flies and rodents are fed special diets that restrict protein, they can eat as many calories as they want and still live longer (Nature, December 2009).
This suggests that as long as you are not overweight, you may not need to restrict calories. Instead, restrict only protein which is far easier to do.
THE BIG JOKE
Furthermore, you can probably eat all the fruits and vegetables you want and not restrict calories as long as you restrict protein. That’s very good news because it is far easier to restrict protein than it is to restrict all foods. The only way that you can restrict calories and still remain healthy is to eat a diet based on vegetables.
It now appears that you extend your life far more by reducing protein that you would by restricting just calories.
Dr. Pinna says:
There is one absolutely false statement in this article: “Furthermore, you can probably eat all the fruits and vegetables you want and not restrict calories as long as you restrict protein.”
THIS IS TOTAL BULL S****! CALORIES ARE CALORIES!
I have had many patients who were Vegetarians or Vegans and many were obese and had diabetes and died young! They did not eat meat or other proteins. But they ate tons of rice, potatoes and the oil from butter called GHEE in Indian. They ate more calories than they burned through lack of exercise, became obese and died young.
The Laws of Physics are immutable. They cannot be changed by dreaming.
Energy is energy. Calories are a form of energy. Eat too many calories from fruit or veggies and you will become fat. Cows are fat and they only eat grass.
It may be true that protein produces Insulin Like Growth Factor. It may be true that Insulin Like Growth Factor contributes to the cause of cancer, but neither of these SUPPOSITIONS have been proven.
The Japanese live longer than any other human race on the planet. They eat fish constantly. Fish is protein. The protein restriction hypothesis does not explain this fact. It ignores it.
Protein has been and always will be part of the human diet. Studies have shown, repeatedly, that certain “Amino Acids” are necessary for human survival. These Amino Acids are found most abundently in meat.
In my opinion, the best diet restricts calories, but does not eliminate ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS and ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS.
These ESSENTIAL MOLECULES are both found in proteins.