Try A Low-Carb Diet For Powerful Anti-Aging Benefits
Low-carb diets are most popular for their weight loss benefits. A lesser known but possibly more important benefit of low-carb nutrition is how it can slow the aging process and keep you young and active.
It all has to do with how carbohydrate restriction can lower blood sugar and insulin, which in turn has an anti-aging effect. How does this happen?
When you eat a large portion of your diet from refined carbs and sugar, you are more likely to experience spikes and valleys in blood sugar. Combined with a lack of physical activity, this dietary profile encourages fat gain, while often leading to higher insulin levels.
You probably know that when blood sugar rises after a meal, the pancreas releases insulin to allow the body to use it for energy or store the sugar for later use as fat. At high levels, blood sugar can be toxic and cause coma or even death. Therefore, the pancreas attempts to tightly regulate blood sugar levels. When we eat a healthy diet of whole foods like that of our ancestors (meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds), the body does a good job at blood sugar regulation.
Things don’t work so well when our diets are higher in refined carbs, sugar, and other processed foods. In response to the typical Western diet, blood sugar rises very rapidly and it’s common for the pancreas to overestimate the amount of insulin needed to bring blood sugar down into a safe range. Over time, cells become less responsive to insulin and even more is needed, triggering a downward spiral of insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar levels encourage the body to produce complex proteins fittingly called AGEs (an acronym for advanced glycation endproducts). In simple terms, glycation is browning, such as the yellowing that occurs when you cut an apple in half and let it sit. In this case, the injured plant tissue is exposed to oxygen, which reacts with the amino acids in the apple to cause oxidation and a change in color.
AGEs act like free radicals, circulating and damaging cells and DNA. They accumulate in skin, causing wrinkles, and damage blood vessels. AGEs are also implicated in the development of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and metabolic syndrome.
A low-carb diet is one way to counteract this. Studies consistently show that in a variety of populations, including those with diabetes or obesity, a low-carb diet will lower insulin and blood sugar levels, decreasing glycation and the number of AGEs doing damage to tissue in the body.
How To Use A Low-Carb Diet For Longevity:
Benefits to insulin and blood sugar have been observed for a wide range of different macronutrient concentrations, including very low-carb ketogenic diets of less than 30 grams of carbs a day (equaling roughly 10 percent of the diet) as well as moderate-carb diets that supply 40 percent of the calories from carbs.
The key is to individualize your diet, taking into consideration activity and stress levels, goals, current diet, genetics, and age.
For example, some people will be able to lower insulin and blood sugar by choosing healthier carbohydrate foods over the refined carbs that dominate most diets.
On the other hand, if you need to lose a lot of body fat, a very-low carb ketogenic diet might produce the most powerful results.
Additionally, exercising regularly, both with weights and by doing aerobic exercise, will help restore insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar. Simply being more active during the day and spending less time sedentary can also help.