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What amount of carbs is best for longevity?

by (224)
Updated about 3 hours ago
Created December 04, 2012 at 11:48 AM

I have had much success with switching to a ketogenic diet over the past month, but am now worried about the long term effects? Is VLC (~25 g/day) and low protein (~15%) conducive to longevity, or am is this extreme fat oriented diet killing me?? Note that I am already lean and not looking to lose any more weight. So should I remain in ketosis or is it unhealthy?

If I do eat more carbs, which are best, and is timing important? Does a ketogenic diet need to be cyclical and include re-feeds in order to be sustainable in the long run?

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10214 · December 06, 2012 at 1:18 PM

The Med diet (50-60% carbs) produces some of the highest longevities in the world. But diet is only a part of the lifestyle in that region.

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2688 · December 04, 2012 at 6:22 PM

There is some evidence that overeating protein in particular leads to shorter lifespan. This again is the Jaminets thinking. I haven't really independently verfied this. I think each macronutrient type could have a different effect on longevity. Certainly when taken to extreme excess they all shorten lifespan.

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10214 · December 04, 2012 at 5:53 PM

In relation to longevity, I think that eating a little less than you think you need applies to all foods, including fat. Longevity does not correlate with overeating.

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18635 · December 04, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Well ketosis could very well be what your looking for then. It is a proven treatment for neurological disorders, and many report better mental clarity. You do not need carbs at all. Is there evidence that it may be harmful? Not really. But, there are anecdotal reports of some people not thriving as well on it as others. I'm LC, but not ketogenic myself though.

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2030 · December 04, 2012 at 4:55 PM

He wasn't ketogenic but Wolfgang Lutz lived to 95 keeping carbs under 72 grams. Owsley "The Bear" Stanley ate an all meat diet for 47 years but unfortunately passed away in a car accident. I don't think it's a starvation diet like others do.

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224 · December 04, 2012 at 1:41 PM

my diet is not geared toward athleticism. i am more concerned with mental clarity and focus. could i then do without refeeds? and is there any contrary evidence saying that a lack of carbs may be harmful? we do of course need a certain amount of carbs to fuel the brain.

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6 Answers

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2688 · December 04, 2012 at 2:16 PM

I tend to agree with the Jaminets PHD idea that eating just below your body's glucose needs in starch and eating just enough protein to support your needs leads to the best longevity.

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2688 · December 04, 2012 at 6:22 PM

There is some evidence that overeating protein in particular leads to shorter lifespan. This again is the Jaminets thinking. I haven't really independently verfied this. I think each macronutrient type could have a different effect on longevity. Certainly when taken to extreme excess they all shorten lifespan.

Medium avatar
10214 · December 04, 2012 at 5:53 PM

In relation to longevity, I think that eating a little less than you think you need applies to all foods, including fat. Longevity does not correlate with overeating.

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18635 · December 04, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Theoretically it could be great for longevity. Several authors tend to think so.

As to the cycling of carbs and re-feeds. Thats ultimately more dependent on your other (i.e. fitness) goals. If your hitting the gym very hard several times a week and you don't want to see performance suffer in your high intensity activities it may be important.

Your lifestyle can be geared toward health, longevity, or athleticism.....but you may have to sacrifice some of one for the other when going to extremes.

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18635 · December 04, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Well ketosis could very well be what your looking for then. It is a proven treatment for neurological disorders, and many report better mental clarity. You do not need carbs at all. Is there evidence that it may be harmful? Not really. But, there are anecdotal reports of some people not thriving as well on it as others. I'm LC, but not ketogenic myself though.

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224 · December 04, 2012 at 1:41 PM

my diet is not geared toward athleticism. i am more concerned with mental clarity and focus. could i then do without refeeds? and is there any contrary evidence saying that a lack of carbs may be harmful? we do of course need a certain amount of carbs to fuel the brain.

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1021 · December 04, 2012 at 5:27 PM

all i know is its not at all necessary unless youre diabetic. otherwise people consuming high amounts of carbs wouldnt live to be 75+ years old, but they do.

Medium avatar
10214 · December 06, 2012 at 1:18 PM

The Med diet (50-60% carbs) produces some of the highest longevities in the world. But diet is only a part of the lifestyle in that region.

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2030 · December 04, 2012 at 4:47 PM

It's hard to tell I think, most people who turn to lc do it because of health concerns and haven't done it their whole lives. So I find in our society anyway that they generally don't look that healthy but that could just be because of the health issues they had before the diet switch.

So you could look to other ketogenic traditional diets and I'm not sure there are many. The Inuit were almost exclusively animal/seafood eaters but didn't seem to live that long but there are so many variables that could contribute to that like being so far north, lack of sunlight, high pufa, not too mention the harshest living environment on the planet.

Although I don't agree that we're all sugar addicts Nora Gedgaudas mentions at about the 7:30 mark at AHS this past August that a ketogenic diet creates a 39% increase in blood flow to the brain. That's pretty significant, so it's definitely beneficial to the brain. There are others on here that know a lot more about this than I do so I'm interested to hear other responses.

Anyways I know this doesn't answer your question but it's an interesting discussion.

Just watched Dr. Rosedale's lecture at AHS, it was definitely thought provoking.

http://vimeo.com/channels/418298/54542119

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2030 · December 04, 2012 at 4:55 PM

He wasn't ketogenic but Wolfgang Lutz lived to 95 keeping carbs under 72 grams. Owsley "The Bear" Stanley ate an all meat diet for 47 years but unfortunately passed away in a car accident. I don't think it's a starvation diet like others do.

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825 · December 04, 2012 at 2:36 PM

a long-term ketogenic diet probably isn't good for cortisol levels

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10214 · December 04, 2012 at 2:30 PM

In theory Bob Atkins is a model. He lived a fairly long life and didn't die from it. For years he was quite lean, but photos for the last 10 years of his life he looks like an ordinary overweight old guy. His heart problems may or may not have been related to his diet.

All things considered I think Jack Lalanne is a better model for longevity. High activity until the day he died, and the polar opposite of ketogenic. But also very lean at 96, and never a proponent of high glycemic junk foods.

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