From The Straits Times    |

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight it’s more than likely you’ll have swapped things like bread and potatoes for lean meat. After all, who hasn’t heard of the wondrous outcomes people get with the high protein Atkins diet?

While that way of eating undoubtedly helps people drop the pounds, it might not be so healthy for the long term. According to new research reducing the amount of protein you eat and replacing it with carbohydrates is actually the key to living a long life.

A team at the University of Sydney in Australia looked at the effects of various diets on mice over at eight week period. They were given differing amounts of protein and carbs, and some had food readily available while others were in a more controlled environment.

It was found that mixing up the amounts of each type of food did as much for the mice as cutting calories by 40 per cent. This is significant as in the past it’s been found that reducing calorie intake speeds up the metabolism and leads to a longer life. However, people tend to find it hard to live on a lot less food – so having the option to switch protein for healthy carbs could be useful. The caveats are the protein has to be high quality, so things like white meat, soya and eggs, while the carbohydrate should come from fruit and veg, whole grains and pulses. So unfortunately making your way through a loaf of white bread toast doesn’t count.

In the mice, it was found that this way of eating gave the same benefits in terms of blood sugar and cholesterol levels as cutting 40 per cent of calories from the diet. This was despite the rodents actually eating more, because their metabolism was quicker. They also didn’t put on any weight.

“It still holds true that reducing food intake and body weight improves metabolic health and reduces the risk of diseases like Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease,” researcher Dr Stephen Simpson said in the findings, published in journal Cell Reports.

“However, 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.” — Cover Media 

Trying to eat healthy? Find out how to have a healthier, more nutritious breakfast and how to have a healthy diet and still get to eat chocolate.