Let’s talk about aging. When we come across the term “anti-aging,” we automatically assume face creams and anti-wrinkle treatments. However, outward signs of aging aren’t the only thing people should be concerned about. Internal aging poses a more significant threat to our longevity, and they often go unnoticed.
When it comes to diets that combat aging, the consensus points at proteins as the culprit. For years, so-called experts campaigned for minimizing protein consumption to prevent aging complications like higher insulin resistance, development of fatal diseases, etc. But recent research shows that carbohydrates, not protein, is the one that triggers faster aging.
There’s a kinase called mTOR that’s at the center of this growing old process. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how it affects our body’s maturation process.
What is mTOR, and what role does it play in aging?
mTOR is a member of the protein kinase family. It is part of complexes that regulate different cell processes, one of which is cell growth. Basically, certain components of your nutrient consumption activate mTOR, which then signals your cells to grow. That’s why children who eat nutritious meals tend to grow fast, while undernourished children have slower growth and development.
In this way, the constant activation of mTOR signals your cells to keep on growing. Of course, as adults, our cells are already mature. That means this constant signal to grow becomes a signal for our cells to grow older faster.
What activates mTOR?
Previous scientific claims that say proteins cause aging come from the fact that mTOR is activated by amino acids, which comes from protein that we eat like meat and eggs. However, amino acids are not the only ones that activate mTOR. Glucose also does, and in a higher degree because mTOR and insulin are very closely related.
As you know, carbohydrates are processed into glucose in the blood. Insulin regulates blood glucose. So the higher the glucose, the more insulin is pumped out, and then more mTOR is activated.
You could still argue that mTOR activation via insulin doesn’t erase the fact that amino acids from proteins also do. Yes, that’s right, but numerous studies show how much more problematic glucose is from carbohydrates as compared to protein.
One study deals with acarbose, a drug that stops the absorption of carbs, and both mice and human subjects. With mice, the male species lived longer by 22 percent. In humans, the risk of developing heart-related disease went down by a whopping 50 percent.
Another case in point is the lifespan-prolonging effect of fasting. A study by Samuel Klein and Robert R. Wolfe found that the beneficial effect of fasting isn’t due to there not being any calories consumed. Rather, it’s precisely because of diminished carbohydrates. This is because an enzyme called AMPK, known to boost energy and balance hormones, activates when one starts fasting. AMPK is known to hinder mTOR activation.
How does the Keto Diet prevent aging and help prolong your life?
As you may know, the Ketogenic Diet requires very little carbs consumption, only around 5% of your daily caloric intake. In this way, it also calls up AMPK to stop mTOR activation, which, in turn, prevents cells from aging too fast and thus prolong its lifespan.
The Ketogenic Diet is also proof of how protein consumption has much less impact on mTOR activation than carbohydrates. Since this diet requires protein to make up 10 to 15 percent of your daily calories, 20 percent if you exercise often, this means that it calls for a normal protein range, not a restricted one. The fact that this diet also extends lifespan as proven by this study implies that the lack of carbs, not protein restriction, is the reason for the benefit.
What you need to do now
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