A healthy diet and routine exercise are proven to decrease the chance of cardiovascular disease, psychological reduction as well as other disorders and help boost longevity. Now, thanks to the prevalence of current Netflix documentaries and social websites, diets claiming to help prolong your life, like the Blue Zone Diet along with also the Longevity Diet, are experiencing a spike in attention.
The hallmarks of these eating styles are exactly what you’d expect out of any health-focused diet: Longer entire foods, fewer highly refined foods, and a lot of plant-based staples. Notably, they’re based on observations about communities in which people routinely live past 100.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD YOU CONSUME?
This may be surprising or even perplexing, given that low-fat diets are very popular (and frequently suggested by nutrition experts) for people looking to lose weight, increase their athletic performance, or enhance their general wellbeing. For example, general protein recommendations to get a healthier adult to sit about 0.8 grams/kg of body fat per day, or involving 1.2–2.0g/kg of body weight daily for busy adults. Therefore, to get a 160-pound individual (72.5kg), that would mean somewhere between 58 g (for somebody non-active) and 145 grams (for somebody very active) of protein per day.
The Blue Zone Diet isn’t super unique about protein amounts but says 95 percent of your meals should come from plants, while 5 percent may come from meat (1–2 times a week) and fish (around 3 times per week). Certainly, it is the potential to find plenty of protein from plants but requires careful preparation.
The Longevity Diet is much more specific around protein. The guidelines state adults under age 65 should maintain their nourishment to 0.31–0.36 g per pound of body weight. So, as an upper limit, a 160-pound individual would be eating 58 grams of protein per day — the bare minimum recommendation for sedentary adults.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LOW-PROTEIN DIETS
So, are low-protein diets like this healthy? Well, like pretty much everything else in nutrition, it depends. Here’s what you need to know before you try it:
- PRIORITIZING PLANT-BASED FOODS IS IDEAL FOR HEALTH
“The research is pretty obvious that a diet high in animal products, and high in saturated fats, leads to obesity and increases the probability of cancer and heart disease,” says Rose. “In that respect, a plant-based diet is a much healthier way to eat and may consequently promote longevity.”
However, while the research strongly supports the benefits of healthful eating, this is in light of ingesting adequate protein as well, says Elizabeth Merrill, a registered dietitian nutritionist. So, if you do decide to try it, then it could be wise to abide by the greater end of the protein recommendations.
- GOING TOO LOW IN PROTEIN IS NOT GREAT FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
High-protein diets are often recommended for those that wish to lose or manage their weight because protein is highly satiating and helps retain lean muscle mass.Lower protein diets will, by default, be greater in carbs and fat. “Though fat as a macronutrient is much denser per gram and also satiating, it doesn’t take so long to digest, nor need as high of metabolic demand to burn,” Merrill explains. “In short, it is far easier to over-consume fat resources compared to nourishment, which might hamper weight reduction.”
- HIGH-CARBOHYDRATE DIETS MIGHT NOT BE IDEAL FOR EVERYONE
“Eating in this manner will probably cause increased carbohydrate consumption, which might lead to unsteady blood sugar levels, varying energy levels, and perhaps increased desire,” says Merrill. While it’s definitely possible to eat a plant-based diet that isn’t high in carbohydrates, the Blue Zone Diet and The Longevity Diet emphasize them.
- ON THE OTHER HAND, SOME PEOPLE EAT WAY MORE PROTEIN THAN THEY NEED
“From the typical American diet, protein is the star,” says Julie Harrington, a registered dietitian. “While protein plays a vital role, many are overconsuming this 1 macronutrient.” Particularly for people who are not active and eating way more protein than they want, cutting back on protein might help them create more space for plant foods containing vital micronutrients and phytochemicals they’d otherwise be missing.
- THE LONGEVITY DIET IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST WHAT YOU EAT
Those centenarians mentioned previously”also do a great deal of walking, add a glass or two of wine and live a low-stress life,” notes Rose. So, while eating lower protein may create this diet than perfect for certain people, there are definitely other elements of this lifestyle [like being busy and cutting back on stress] that many people gain from.
- FOR SOME, THESE EATING STYLES MAY BE TOO RESTRICTIVE
“While healthful eating has many benefits for health generally, any eating style with rigorous food principles is generally not sustainable for many people,” Merrill points out. When it comes to eating healthier, what matters most is what you can stick with consistently.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“Changing your diet from higher protein to low protein, no animal products, and increased fruits and vegetables can be hard and shouldn’t be dismissed lightly as a way to lose weight quickly, “Someone trying to start these types of diet should seek out expert nutrition advice and counseling to guarantee this is the best choice for their lifestyle.”
Additionally, it is important to be aware that living longer is not just about what you eat, Rose states: “Longevity encompasses a lifestyle which includes not just diet, but also healthy habits, a positive attitude, and genetics.”