Study: Valter Longo characterizes the diet of longevity

Professor Valter Longo

Examining a range of nutrition research, from laboratory animal studies to epidemiological research in human populations, provides a clearer picture of the best diet for a longer and healthier life, Valter said. Longo, professor at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

In an article that includes a literature review published April 28 in Cell, Longo and co-author Rozalyn Anderson of the University of Wisconsin describe the “longevity diet,” a multi-pillar approach based on studies of various aspects of diet. , from the composition of food and calories. intake at the duration and frequency of fasting periods.

“We explored the link between nutrients, fasting, genes, and longevity in short-lived species, and we linked those links to clinical and epidemiological studies in primates and humans, including centenarians,” Longo said. “By taking an approach based on more than a century of research, we can begin to define a longevity diet that is a solid foundation for nutritional recommendations and future research.”

What, and when, food for longevity

Longo and Anderson reviewed hundreds of studies on nutrition, disease, and longevity in laboratory and human animals and combined them with their own studies on nutrients and aging. The analysis included popular diets such as total calorie restriction, high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, vegetarian and vegan diets, and the Mediterranean diet.

The article also included a review of different forms of fasting, including a short-term diet that mimics the body’s response to fasting, intermittent fasting (frequent and short-term), and regular fasting (two or more days of fasting or diets). which mimic fasting more). more than twice a month). In addition to examining the lifespan data of epidemiological studies, the team linked these studies to specific dietary factors that affect various genetic pathways that regulate longevity shared by animals and humans that also affect disease risk markers. These include insulin levels, C-reactive protein, insulin-like growth factor 1, and cholesterol.

The authors report that the key features of the optimal diet appear to be the moderate to high intake of carbohydrates from unrefined sources, low but sufficient protein from largely vegetable sources, and enough vegetable fats to provide about 30 percent of the needs. energy. . Ideally, meals of the day should be served in a window of 11-12 hours, allowing for a daily fasting period. In addition, a 5-day cycle of a fasting diet or one that mimics fasting every 3-4 months can also help reduce insulin resistance, blood pressure, and other risk factors for older people. risk of disease.

Longo described what a real-life longevity diet might look like: “Lots of legumes, whole grains, and vegetables; some fish; no red meat or processed meat and very low white meat; low in sugar and refined grains; good levels of nuts and olive oil, and some dark chocolate. ”

What’s next for the longevity diet

The next step in investigating the longevity diet will be a 500-person study to be conducted in southern Italy, Longo said. The longevity diet has similarities and differences to the Mediterranean-style diets that are often seen in the “blue zones” of over-aging, including Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Loma Linda, California. The usual diets in these communities known to a large number of people 100 years of age or older are often plant-based or fish-based and are relatively low in protein. But the longevity diet represents an evolution of these “centennial diets,” Longo explained, citing the recommendation to limit food intake to 12 hours a day and have several short fasting periods each year.

In addition to the general characteristics, the longevity diet must be adapted to people based on sex, age, health status and genetics, Longo noted. For example, people over the age of 65 may need to increase protein to counteract fragility and loss of lean body mass. Longo’s own studies illustrated that higher amounts of protein were better for people over 65, but not optimal for those under 65, he said.

For people looking to optimize their diet for longevity, he said it’s important to work with a nutrition provider to customize a plan focused on smaller changes that can be adopted for life. instead of big changes that will cause a significant detrimental loss. of body fat and too much lean, followed by a recovery of lost fat, once the person abandons the very restrictive diet.

“The longevity diet is not a dietary restriction designed to cause only weight loss, but a lifestyle focused on slow aging, which can complement standard health care and, taken as a preventative measure, will help to prevent morbidity and maintain health until old age “, Longo. dit.


The article, “Nutrition, Longevity, and Disease: From Molecular Mechanisms to Interventions,” was co-authored by Professor Rozalyn M. Anderson of the University of Wisconsin. Faculty of Medicine and Public Health. This work was supported in part by awards to Longo, including the Associazione Italiana per la ricerca sul Cancro (IG # 17605 and IG # 21820.), Grant BC161452 from the Breast Cancer Research Program USA) and the National Institute on Aid for Aging-National Institutes of Health P01 AG055369. Anderson has the support of NIH-NIA RF1AG057408, R01AG067330, R01AG074503, Veterans Administration Merit Award BX003846 and Impetus Grants and the Simons Foundation. This work was made possible by the support of William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin.

Longo is the founder and owns a stake in L-Nutra; the company’s food products are used in studies of the diet that mimics fasting. Longo’s interest in L-Nutra was revealed and managed in accordance with USC’s conflict of interest policies. USC has a stake in L-Nutra and the potential to receive L-Nutra royalty payments. USC’s financial interest in the company has been disclosed and managed under USC’s institutional conflict of interest policies.

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