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The forgotten longevity secret
Right now, if you asked as the question, “How do I live to a 110 ?”
The scientific guru, would suggest dietary restriction with adequate nutrition i.e. that is you eat a LOT LESS (undernutrition), but make sure, you don’t eat TOO little, to run short of vital nutrients (without malnutrition).
Scientists know, this approach, extends lifespan and improves healthspan, in animals, ranging from yeast to mammals. And they think it will work in humans.
The trouble is………….
It’s pretty hard to sell.
AND virtually IMPOSSIBLE, to do !
The quest to make starving PLEASANT
So scientists are always looking for ways to get the benefits, without the STARVE. All sorts of things have been tried and many of them work.
But, for the most part, the solutions are not very practical. And potentially hazardous.
So the search continues……
But what if, starving is not actually required ?
Starving a deputation
A team of American researchers, put a cat among the pigeons, nearly 20 years ago, when they found they could get the same benefits :
- without STARVING
- pill popping or
- any other “fancy” technology.
i.e. anyone can do it !
And everyone SHOULD do it, as much as possible……
Undernutrition without malnutrition
The reason undernutrition works………
It LIMITS the formation of oxidants.
NB. Oxidants are part and parcel of biology, so they cannot be STOPPED, just constrained.
Now most attempts at limiting them, focus on what is going on, inside the body. But, not all oxidants are generated by our metabolism.
Some arrive via dinner.
It was these oxidants our team, decided to take aim at.
The official name for these oxidants are dietary AGEs (advance glycation end products). Tey are part and parcel of food and they give food it’s flavour.
Eish ! You’d swear Mother Nature was out to get us !
Now before, you throw up you hands in despair, this is NOT a problem, under ordinary circumstances. We’ve got a pretty sophisticated defence system, which is quite capable of processing and removing them. Most go to never-never land i.e. we don’t actually absorb them. The 30 % or so, that do get abosorbed, are HANDLED.
Either by enzymes in charge of these things or by the kidney, who is quite happy to expel them.
But, defence systems can be overwhelmed.
Pushing the limit
Cooking food, amplifies AGE levels…… making cooked food DELICIOUS ! In the foodie world…..
They’re called Malliard reaction products.
And, they’re the reason, “everybody”, from rats to humans, prefers cooked food over raw food.
Think seared steaks, fried dumplings, roast potato, crispy crusts and toasted marshmallows. Mmm.
Okay, okay – let’s get back to the science of longevity…
Gourmet calorie restriction
Our team, decided to “treat” some STARVING mice, to “roasted” mouse chow and compare, their health and happiness, to less lucky, STARVING mice, alongside, mice that were not going HUNGRY.
All three groups of mice were fed, NIH-31 food.
The gourmet mouse chow was roasted in an oven for 15 minutes at 120°C.
The not going HUNGRY mice, ate, ad libitum i.e. they ate, until they were satisfied. The two groups of STARVING mice, received 40 % less calories than “normal”. Those enjoying the “gourmet” treats, at the highest amount of dietary AGEs.
A recipe for thin-ness
The calorie restricted mice………. were significantly thinner.
Ouch ! The STARVING mice, eating “roasted” food, were marginally fatter, than their contemporaries.
But they were healthy – right ?
Not a recipe for longevity
Actually, they did not live long and prosper.
The ordinary calorie restricted mice – did live the longest, as expected. But, when the calorie restricted mice, ate the exact same amount of food, with a few extra AGEs added, thanks to the cooking technique, they lost their survival advantage.
They lived their whole lives HUNGRY and died, a week or two earlier. Not fair !
AGEs aged the mice
The extra AGEs in their diet, caused higher serum levels of AGEs, which resulted in higher tissue levels of AGEs.
And ultimately ‘earlier” organ failure.
Blame the AGEs
So it looks like………..
Less food in, means less AGEs in.
And less AGEs in, IS THE SURVIVAL ADVANTAGE !
i.e. it’s not about less food in, per se.
Reduce your AGE INTAKE
Now, the absolute levels of AGEs in food, is impacted by how you cook it. As a rule, the hotter you go, the more AGEs are created and …..the more tasty the food. Up to a point !
NOTE : There is a subtle line between a roasted nutty flavour and charcoal. You know when you’ve crossed it.
We like food that is cooked using DRY HEAT.
It’s the go to cooking technique in a BUSY WORLD.
Unfortunately, this type of cooking… maximizes AGE production.
And is quite different from how traditional cooking approaches, which used moist-heating cooking methods.
Hitting the limit
Now, there is probably nothing wrong enjoying a great steak, at your favourite restaurant, every now and again.
The modern human diet is AGE rich.
Which has the potential to push, the AGE defence system to the limit, especially if you’ve already got body chemistry issues.
So count AGEs not calories, for better health.
The easiest way to do this, is to …… change your cooking technique(s).
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