The Science Behind the Longevity Diet

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DoImage result for images for Valter Longo you sometimes wonder about the science behind the dozens of diets out there screaming “pick me, pick me”??

Dr. Valter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California Los Angeles and author of The Longevity Diet,  has based his studies and recommended Longevity Diet on his comprehensive Five Pillars of Longevity – and if this isn’t science enough for you…

So what are these Five Pillars?

Image result for images for Valter Longo
  • Basic Juventology Research: Understanding how nutrients such as proteins and sugars affect cellular function, aging, damage from aging, and regeneration in order to determine the type and quantity of nutrients necessary for optimal healthy longevity.
  • Epidemiology: Studying the causes and risk factors for disease and other health-related conditions in defined populations – in other words, what the health consequences of behaviour are in large populations.
  • Clinical Studies: Testing the hypotheses arising from studies from the above two pillars in randomized, controlled clinical trials.
  • Centenarian Studies: Studying long-lived populations from around the world – including their typical diets – to see whether a specific diet or recommendation is safe and effective for long term use.
  • Studies of Complex Systems: Analyzing a particular human problem, ie. the quantity of sugar intake needed to sustain the human body, by taking an engineering approach to produce a relatively simple model to understand the complex interactions between food, cellular damage and aging. (1)

In other words, Longo isn’t just giving his opinions or making recommendations based on only a few studies. His work involves all five pillars of inquiry and goes back decades, resulting in numerous awards for his research into Aging – with a capital A.

Though many popular and highly touted diets like the Mediterranean Diet are based on a couple of the above five pillars, Dr. Longo has spent years developing his Longevity Diet based on all five – scientific research that demanded a heck of a lot of passion, dedication and not a little intuition. And don’t be surprised if you recognize many elements of various popular diets in Longo’s Diet – it’s how he applies his findings that make his recommendations so interesting.

A Quick Fix?

We’ve been conditioned to expect quick solutions to most every health situation or problem – generally those that involve popping some sort of pill. Instead, Longo’s suggestions rely on specific changes to your diet, regular exercise, enough ZZZ’s, and a healthy dose of self-discipline.

Is it worth it? By the time you hit your 60’s and 70’s, you’ll be glad you did. And if you’re on a lot of medications to keep you “healthy”, there’s a good chance you won’t need as many as you’re on right now.

I guess in the end it comes down to dying healthy or dying sick and infirm. We’re all gonna go there – it’s just a question of how we do it.

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(1) Text for the Five Pillars taken from The Longevity Diet, Valter Longo, PhD  (2018), pp.44-46

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