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Medicine Science

Low-Protein Diet May Extend Lifespan 459

sciencehabit writes "A new theory about the foods that can extend life is taking shape, and it's sure to be a controversial one. Two studies out this week, one in mice (PDF) and another primarily in people (PDF), suggest that eating relatively little protein and lots of carbohydrates — the opposite of what's urged by many human diet plans, including the popular Atkins Diet — extends life and fortifies health."
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Low-Protein Diet May Extend Lifespan

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @06:41PM (#46402301)

    Fixed that for you....

  • Misleading summary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @06:50PM (#46402403)

    Let's ignore the mouse study as that has little interest to human nutrition. From the second pdf: "our results show that among those
    ages 50 and above, the level of protein intake is associated with
    increased risk of diabetes mortality, but not associated with dif-
    ferencesinall-cause, cancer,orCVDmortality."

    Clearly people dying of diabetes are not on a low carb diet, so I dunno is this a desperate attempt from the corn farmers?

  • Re:Atkin's Diet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @07:01PM (#46402553)

    Done right, the weight loss on Atkins is two-fold. You do burn fat from ketosis, but the primary means of weight loss through Atkins is simply eating what you would have eaten before - just without all of the empty carbs.

    Want a cheeseburger for lunch? Have it. Just leave off the bun and onions.
    Wanted chicken wings at the bar? Have 'em. Get them "naked" with a hot sauce instead of a sweet one.
    Going out for steak? Fine. Trade the baked potato for a side ceasar.

    As long as you don't use "because Atkins!" as an excuse to put bacon and cheese on everything, you'll be fine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @07:03PM (#46402571)


    It's silly science. A very small sample set and a snapshot of their diet via a one time questionnaire. It's on one day what the participants surveyed think their diet is which is probably a bit off from reality (quick what percentage of calories did you eat from protein last week?).

    You have to wonder what the point is?

    " 6381 adults over 50 years old who were interviewed once about their diet as part of NHANES, a national survey of health and nutrition"

  • Re:Atkin's Diet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @07:08PM (#46402613)

    Riiight. Because the 150-175 calories from the bun is the tipping point on having a burger not the 300+ calories from just the fat from the beef (assuming 1/2lb. Of 85/15 beef). As the saying goes, that's being pennywise and pound foolish.

  • by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @07:11PM (#46402641)
    In the late 80's and early 90's, fat was the energy source of the devil that needed to be avoided at all costs. Then in the early 2000's, carbs were the new nutrient to avoid. And now, another decade later, they're telling us to avoid protein. I'll stick to eating a variety of foods in moderate portions supplemented by exercise, thank you very much.
  • Any reasonable recommendations can only come from large, longitudinal studies, over multiple generations. You know, those that shape the food pyramid / WHO guidelines. And they do exist, and give pretty clear ideas. Such as that halving your meat intake is a good idea.

    But I guess that's not exciting, news needs to either repackage (MyPlate) or go after highly fluctuating results from microstudies which is the latest research, but in the stage of formation (all these diet fads, X is bad for you, Y heals cancer, drink a glass of red wine a day [because a encyme in a petri dish did something], etc. ).

    By the way, why does there need to be one right way of nutrition? Why can't we accept that multiple ways to obtain the basic building blocks are possible.
    In the end, we can't be so off by so much: We have so many people living with such a big variety of foods, and they are doing pretty similarly well (i.e. get older than, and are healthy at, 65). The need to prove that everyones diet is completely wrong is ridiculous.

  • by ras ( 84108 ) <russell-slashdot&stuart,id,au> on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @07:20PM (#46402741) Homepage

    As others, the study was done on mice, who are herbivores in the wild. They say what happens to them will also happen to us, but we have been eating meat a long while now.

    I wonder if also applies to my cat? <scarcasm>I know cat's are predominately carnivores, but that shouldn't matter, right?</scarcasm>

  • by RightSaidFred99 ( 874576 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @07:27PM (#46402821)

    The best diet is probably a balanced diet of about 1200 calories a day. The safest way to avoid getting hit by a car is not to walk across streets or drive a car. The safest way to avoid dying via plane is to not fly, etc...

    Who the fuck wants to live like that?

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @07:40PM (#46402945)

    Pfft, and next thing we know, you'll be telling us to exercise too! My sedentary lifestyle has kept me out of the hospital while the active lifestyles kept by the rest of my immediate family have resulted in...
    - Broken collarbone (ultimate frisbee collision)
    - Broken nose (a different ultimate frisbee collision)
    - Hairline fractures in both shins (playing too much ultimate frisbee)
    - Blown out knees (too much jogging for one, carrying a couch for the other)
    - Severed index finger tendon (landed wrong after tripping while jogging)
    - Blown out achilles tendons (they said he'd never jog again, but he was back at it in 6 months)

    And that's just off the top of my head in the last five years, none of which occurred at the same time, and none of which they've learned from, since they're all still engaged in those activities. Man, am I showing them!

    *says the guy who would strongly advocate that others follow his family members' lifestyle choices rather than his own and is VERY aware of the fact that he's setting himself up for significant complications later in life if he doesn't succeed in following his own advice*

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @07:58PM (#46403135)

    I'm not missing out on anything

    Well aside from all kinds of delicious things you can do with meats.

    You can't legitimately claim a vegetarian diet can be as varied as an omnivorous one can be. Your vegetarian diet is a strict subset of mine. Full stop.

    Sure beet carpaccio is delicious, but its not beef carpaccio. You'll try one, I'll try both. And yes, you are missing out.

  • Car analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @08:02PM (#46403181) Journal

    Focusing on diet for human lifespan is like focusing on gasoline for car lifespan.

    Studies have been done of places where people tend to live longer. Some common threads are: genetics, happiness, close community ties, everyday physical labor, low stress, diet and maybe a few other things.

    Yeah sure, diet is in there; but if your Daddy died at 40, you're pissed off all the time, you don't know your neighbors and you spend 60 hours a day stressing in a cube-farm then the quinoa salad you ate probably won't help much. Go ahead though. It probably won't hurt; just don't expect miracles. Look at *all* the factors.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @08:04PM (#46403217)

    As a meat eater, you miss out on most veggie dishes because you aren't looking for them. Again, I am missing nothing but the health problems.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @08:08PM (#46403241)

    Want to find out if someone is an idiot? Just wait and they'll open their mouth.

    1) The story is about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet
    2) The GGP inferred that they are a carnivore before I ever said anything

    Try to be more attentive and think before you speak.

  • "The ones that every doctor will tell you about. The ones that this very story is about."
    Only if you over eat.

    "Highly doubtful.":
    neither you should should be talking about your person health. It's not good data, and it's irrelevant and you don't know what each other health is like.

    "It doesn't have to be, but often it is and it will never be as healthy as a vegetarian diet."
    Vegetarian can becomes over weight, and they can have there own set of health problems. []

    In short: A properly planned vegetarian is fine. But so is a properly balance omnivore diet.

    "Despite what someone might have told you, not everyone finds animal flesh appealing."
    fair enough, but we aren't discussing personal taste. And yes the person who posted that shouldn't have, it's a weak attempt at an ad hom. Pointless to the topic.

    "Pretentious? When? Where?"
    "As a meat eater, you miss out on most veggie dishes because you aren't looking for them. "
    You act like you know something you don't actually no anything about, that person person dietary habits.
    Just so you know, I eat a lot of vegetarian dishes and meat dishes. You are trying to create some sort of false dichotomy between you and meat eaters, stop it. What he said is true: You have restricted yourself to a subset of choice; therefore less varied.

    IN NO WAY should this betaken as my implying you shouldn't be vegetarian, or you are wrong for being one.

    "You're the one posturing and resorting to ad hominem."
    He isn't posturing. He is using ad hominem, and he is wrong for doing so, just like you. See you do have something in common.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:19PM (#46404381)
    Unfortunately there is a big selection bias with this, as the vegetarians that don't give a crap what you eat won't say anything. And of course, if someone never lets you know they are a vegetarian, you'll never hear of vegetarians that don't let you know. Then there are the types that think all vegetarians are preachy, because when they ask someone why they don't want to try some meat dish, they flip out and insist the vegetarian was getting preachy when all they said was, "No thank you," and, "I'm a vegetarian," in response to a direct question.
  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:44PM (#46404537)

    You can eat a tasty and balanced and varied diet on 1900 calories a day.

    So, would you rather have a tasty diet and live till 88, or eat the same tasty diet, just more of it, and die at 68?

    This is not the answer you would like, but I'll take 68 over 88 any day of the week

    My experience in my family and relatives has been that while we are really good at extending life, it's all on the wrong end of the lifespan. I've seen too many relatives who once would have made it to maybe 70, and now spend their last 15 years as demented zombies, kept alive by the miracles of modern medicine. They have low cholesterol, low blood pressure, and are having their savings, retirement ans SS checks going ot the nursing home, while they luxuriate in their Depends, catheters, and whatever experimental meds they give to Alzheimer's patients to keep them alive in order to extract those last pennies. Seriously undignified and unnaturally drawn out. THere are fates worse than dying.

    People in America get portions far larger then they need. People get used to over eating, so when they get a properly portioned meal they feel hungry, even though rationally they have enough.

    While I don't disagree with you that Americans overeat, the concept of getting people to eat less in times of plenty is going to be difficult to achieve. And the slovenly Americans are not the only people with an overeating problem.

  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:42PM (#46404845)

    This idiot developed and sold some of the world's best respiratory monitoring equipment. One of our repeat customers was a big tobacco company - they paid well, and even sponsored some customization for their research. They never published anything, but they know quite a bit about the science of smoking. The investors and management of the tobacco companies did, indeed, diversify into food in the 1980s, and they have been driving the "improvements" found on grocery store shelves since then, using a similar systematic, scientific approach to selling profitable food products. I believe the consumer's health is at a similar priority for them in food as it was in the tobacco industry.

    Yes, people should stop eating garbage, exercise regularly, save for retirement, etc. However, judging from past performance, they need a little encouragement in the right direction, and the available food choices, and pricing structure of those food choices in the U.S. today do not seem to be the encouragement that most people need to make healthy choices. Next, we can go down a whole health-care profit machine conspiracy hole, if you like.

    Nobody is forcing you to buy pre-processed, packaged foods, you are absolutely free to go to the grocery and buy fresh produce, meats, dairy, and do all the cooking yourself. Look at the shelf space in your local grocery store and tell me where they are making the bulk of their profits. It's not in the produce aisle.

I've got a bad feeling about this.