Researchers: Protein Found in Meat and Fish Shortens Lifespan | Richard Alleyne | 12/03/09

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Vegetarian low protein diet could be key to long life

Reducing consumption of a protein found in fish and meat could slow the ageing process and increase life expectancy, according to the research.

Scientists have long believed that an ultra low calorie diet - aproximately 60 per cent of normal levels - can lead to greater longevity.

But now a team of British researchers have discovered that the key to the effect is a reduction in a specific protein and not the total number of calories.

That means that by reducing foods that contain the protein - such as meat, fish and certain nuts - people should live longer wiuthout the need to cut down on meals.

Dr Matthew Piper, from the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College London, said that a vegetarian diet could be one way to achieve the effect.

Studies in animals including monkeys have shown that reducing food intake can benefit health and increase lifespan.

Researchers have found that reducing calories by as much as 30 per cent could reduce risks of developing heart disease or cancer by half and increase lifetimes by nearly a third.

The extreme diets - just above malnutrition levels - add an extra 25 years to the average life in Britain with the vast majority of people living to their 100th birthday

But in a series of new experiments on fruit flies, scientists discovered that simply varying the mix of amino acids in the diet affected lifespan.

Further study revealed that one particular amino acid, methionine, made all the difference.

Although flies and people are very different, the researchers believe the effects are likely to be conserved throughout a wide range of different species including humans.

Dr Piper said: "It's not as simple as saying 'eat less nuts' or 'eat more nuts' to live longer - it's about getting the protein balance right, a factor that might be particularly important for high protein diets, such as the Atkins diet or body builders' protein supplements."

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4 Comments | Leave a comment


It's just such a partisan issue. Logic would dictate that a low to moderate calorie balance diet is the best approach. Protein is important; fats are important; complex carbohydrates are important.

No doubt that organic/natural/local food is important, if not critical. A diet rich in fruits, veggies (veggies include saturates such as coconut and/or cocunut oils), legumes and meats is best.

It's what God created for us to consume. One could argue that meats came after "the fall," which is certainly true, but there's no reason to believe that makes them unhealthful. It certainly appears, that the research on organic, grass-fed animal fats, proteins, etc. concludes that it's very healthful. The problem is research of the proper fats, proteins, etc. from the mainstream is lacking.


"One could argue that meats came after "the fall," which is certainly true, but there's no reason to believe that makes them unhealthful."

People always get that wrong.

Actually, according to the Bible, humanity only started eating animals after the flood. So, from Adam and Eve all the way up to Noah people never ate animals.


Yes, that's correct. I wasn't trying to be specific, I just meant it was not how God originally intended it.


If god intended us to eat meat we'd have sharp pointy teeth and short guts. As it is meat gives us heart disease and bowel cancer. Anyhow i like to think god would prefer us to choose kindness, considering the abundance of nutritious non-animal food sources available to us.

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