Can Cutting Carbohydrates Out of Your Diet Increase Lifespan?

You may be able to extend your life and stay fit throughout your old age with a simple change of diet that switches on your “youth” gene.

Professor Cynthia Kenyon, whom many experts believe should win the Nobel Prize for her research into aging, has discovered that carbohydrates directly affect the genes that govern youthfulness and longevity.

By tweaking the genes of roundworms, she has been able to help them live up to six times longer than normal.

The genes that controlled aging in worms also do the same thing in rats and mice, probably monkeys, and there are signs they are active in humans, too. She found that turning down the gene that controls insulin in turn switches on another gene which acts like an elixir of life.

The Daily Mail reports:

“Discovering the … [first] gene has prompted the professor to ­dramatically alter her own diet, cutting right back on carbohydrates. That’s because carbs make your body produce more insulin (to mop up the extra blood sugar carbs ­produce) … so the vital second gene, the ‘elixir’ one, won’t get turned on.”



Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Funny how conventional media can make something so foundational for good health sound like a brand new insight. I’ve been warning my readers to avoid carbohydrates in the form of sugars and grains for well over a decade, in order to improve health and increase longevity.

Still, the fact that this is now getting some well-deserved attention is great news.  As science catches up, perhaps more people will finally see the light of truth.

As the Daily Mail reports above, research confirms that insulin-like growth factor is intricately linked to various cancers, and that “raised insulin levels, triggered by high carbohydrate ­consumption, could be what ­connects many of our big killers.”

If you’ve been reading this newsletter for any amount of time, this is already a familiar fact for you. 

But many still have not gotten the message. As Daily News states, this is a suggestion that “flies in the face of 30 years of health advice to have a lower fat intake and eat plenty of long-lasting complex carbo­hydrates to keep the body supplied with energy.”

Indeed. And that standard health advice is a major reason why obesity and diseases such as diabetes and cancer have reached such epidemic proportions in the US and other developed nations.

Insulin is in fact a MAJOR accelerant of the aging process, and also affects many bodily processes, all of which can impact your longevity.

For example, insulin:

  • Alters the expression of numerous hormones
  • Stimulates your sympathetic nervous system
  • Promotes vasoconstriction

Research Now Shows HOW Carbohydrates Shorten Your Lifespan

The research that is now turning conventional dietary advice on its ear was done by Professor Cynthia Kenyon, and it’s so revolutionary that many experts think she should get a Nobel Prize for it.

She found that carbohydrates directly affect two key genes in your body that govern longevity and youthfulness.

Daily News reports:

“This work has revolutionized our understanding of ageing, explains Jeff Holly, professor of clinical sciences at Bristol University.

‘Ten years ago we thought ageing was probably the result of a slow decay, a sort of rusting,’ he says. ‘But Professor Kenyon has shown that it’s not about wear and tear, but instead it is controlled by genes.”

I’ve previously written about how your diet can over-ride genetic predispositions to disease, and this research further strengthens those claims, as the two key genes in question can be turned on or off as a consequence of eating carbohydrates.

Now, Professor Holly goes on to say that this opens up new vistas for slowing down the aging process using drugs designed to turn these genes on or off, but come on

The real answer is staring you right in the face!

Limit your intake of carbohydrates, primarily in the form of fructose and grains, and you’ll achieve these results without any negative drug-induced side effects!

Professor Kenyon worked with C. elegans roundworms, but her findings have been successfully repeated in other labs around the world using other animals, including rats, mice, and to some extent, monkeys.  Humans also have these genes, indicating these results should apply to us as well.

One of the most interesting details of her findings is that not only did the roundworms live up to SIX TIMES longer than normal, but they kept their health and youthful vigor until the end.

Previous research has shown that you can extend your lifespan by reducing your caloric intake, and I’ve written about this technique in the past. The problem is that most people do not understand how to properly cut calories, because in order to remain healthy, you have to cut out calories from a specific source – namely, carbohydrates!

Kenyon’s research offers renewed support for this key point.

Daily News reports:

“… [W]hat Professor Kenyon found out was why ­drastically reducing calories has such a remarkable effect.

She discovered that it changed the way two crucial genes behaved. It turned down the gene that controls insulin, which in turn switched on another gene, which acted like an elixir of life.

‘We jokingly called the first gene the Grim Reaper because when it’s switched on, the lifespan is fairly short,’ she explains. The ­second ‘elixir’ gene seems to bring all the anti-ageing benefits — its proper name is DAF 16, but it was quickly nicknamed ‘Sweet Sixteen’ because it turned the worms into teenagers. ‘It sends out instructions to a whole range of repair and renovation genes,’ says Professor Kenyon.

… The Sweet Sixteen gene also ‘boosts compounds that make sure the skin and muscle-building ­proteins are working properly, the immune system becomes more active to fight infection and genes that are active in cancer get turned off,’ she adds.

… Discovering the Grim Reaper gene has prompted the professor to ­dramatically alter her own diet, ­cutting back on carbohydrates. That’s because carbs make your body produce more insulin (to mop up the extra blood sugar carbs ­produce); and more insulin means a more active Grim Reaper. So the vital second gene, the ‘elixir’ one, won’t get turned on.

… To test this, last year she added a tiny amount of ­sugary glucose to the normal diet of some of her worms that had had their genes engineered so they were living much longer, healthier lives.

‘The effect was remarkable,’ she says. ‘The sugary glucose blocked the “youthful” genes and they lost most of the health gains.'”

Important info.