Protein to carbohydrate ratio in our diets has gone haywire over the years with various fad diets suggesting a reduction in carbohydrates in our diets. A new study by Charles Perkins Center published in the reputed Cell Metabolism journal revealed the effects of protein, carbohydrates and fats on our cardiometabolic health and aging.
The researchers pointed out that calorie counting, or avoiding certain foods primarily based on number of calories it adds to the diet could trigger long term health issues. Our body regulates food intake through dietary protein and carbohydrate ratio, and not by the number of calories consumed, according to the comprehensive study of macronutrient balance.
A high protein diet showed no beneficial effects on lifespan.
However, a diet with high protein and low carbohydrate reduced the body fat and food intake, it also resulted in poor cardiometabolic health and shorter lifespan.
By contrast, a diet high on carbohydrate and low protein resulted longer lifespan and better cardiometabolic health, though it increases body fat.
A low protein, high fat diet provided the worst health outcomes, with fat content showing no negative influence on food intake.
“We have shown explicitly why it is that calories aren’t all the same – we need to look at where the calories come from and how they interact,”
said Professor Steve Simpson, author of the study.
“This represents an enormous leap in our understanding of the impact of diet quality and diet balance on food intake, health, aging and longevity,”
said co-author Professor David Le Couteur, Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Concord Hospital.
Additionally, the research team has also developed a state-space nutritional modeling method to measure the interactive effects of dietary energy, protein, fat and carbohydrate on food intake, cardiometabolic health and longevity. This method could be used to extend lifespan in mammals by altering the ratio of macronutrients in diet.
“Up until this point, most research has either concentrated on a single nutritional variable, such as fat, carbohydrate or calories, so much of our understanding of energy intake and diet balance is based on one-dimensional single nutrient assessments.The advice we are always given is to eat a healthy balanced diet, but what does that mean? We have some idea, but in relation to nutritional composition we don’t know terribly well. This research represents an important step in finding out,”
In terms of practical advice, the researchers predict that a diet with moderate amounts of high quality protein (around 15 to 20 percent of total calorie intake), that is relatively low in fat and high in good quality complex carbohydrates will yield the best metabolic health and the longest life.