Most diets place a premium on cutting calories. But new research suggests eating the right balance of protein and carbs can be as effective in shedding pounds, delaying aging, and improving overall health.
The study, based on tests involving mice, challenges many basic assumptions about dieting and suggests eating the right kinds of foods can drive weight loss as effectively as cutting your caloric intake nearly in half, Medical News Today
"We've shown that when compared head-to-head, mice got the same benefits from a low protein, high carbohydrate diet as a 40 percent caloric restriction diet," said lead researcher Stephen Simpson, with the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre in Australia.
"Except for the fanatical few, no one can maintain a 40 percent caloric reduction in the long term, and doing so can risk loss of bone mass, libido, and fertility."
For the study, published in Cell Reports
, the researchers compared three different diets: high protein, low carbohydrates; medium protein, medium carbohydrates; and low protein, high carbohydrates.
The researchers tested each diet for 8 weeks. The results showed mice that followed a low protein, high carbohydrate diet where food was always available derived the same benefits as mice following the same diet where the number of calories consumed was restricted. Improvements relating to blood sugar, cholesterol, and insulin levels were recorded even with increased food consumption.
The researchers said it’s uncertain whether these findings apply to humans as well as mice. If they do, adjusting the quantities of carbohydrates and protein consumed could be a more realistic approach for improving metabolic health and reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases than cutting calories.
"According to these mouse data and emerging human research, it appears that including modest intakes of high-quality protein and plenty of healthy carbohydrates in the diet will be beneficial for health as we age," Simpson concludes.
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