The author of “The Longevity Diet” shares secrets that could help those living with diabetes and others live to a ripe old age.
We all know the importance of eating healthful foods, especially if you’re a person living with diabetes. But Professor Valter Longo, Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, takes it one step further. He believes switching to a plant-based diet, including small portions of seafood periodically for protein, can be beneficial, along with fasting a few times a year.
“It allows patients to lose weight while consuming a relatively high calorie and carbohydrate diet, while still providing high nourishment and preventing frailty,” explains Dr. Longo. “For example, we know that vegans are more likely to suffer from fractures, but this association is not observed in those also consuming fish. Also, we’ve shown that multiple cycles of the periodic fasting mimicking diet (FMD) cause a reduction in abdominal fat but does not reduce muscle mass.”
“The work of our foundation clinics in Los Angeles and Milan, but also our clinical trials with different medical centers, suggest that the combination of the everyday longevity diet and FMD can result in a reduction in the number or level of drugs taken by diabetes or pre-diabetes patients, with many patients able to achieve remission,” says Longo.
Those without diabetes can also reap the benefits. “The majority of Americans, but also Europeans, are overweight or obese, so this type of diet is important for everyone — not only for weight loss, but also to slow down both the aging process and increase in mortality.”
What to consider
Longo cautions patients to talk to their doctor and dietitian to make certain they follow a version of the longevity diet that’s consistent with their specific condition.
“They should try to change their diet to a form of the longevity diet they can maintain for the rest of their lives. Major changes in diet are pointless if they aren’t maintained even one to two years later. This is why the everyday longevity diet — which includes a pescatarian diet and 12 hours of fasting per day — needs to be combined with FMD cycles. In the clinics, we see those who have high adherence to the everyday longevity diet need less cycles of the FMD, but those who cannot adhere to the longevity diet need to do FMD cycles more often — as many as six to twelve times a year for five days at a time.
Making a difference
Randomized clinical trials indicate that just the FMD component of the longevity diet can result in a reduction in the number or level of drugs taken by diabetes patients, with many able to achieve remission.
“We are about to start a trial with 500 patients, combining the everyday longevity diet and periodic FMDs, a combination which we’ve already observed to be successful in many of the diabetic and pre-diabetic patients visiting the Create Cures Foundation clinics.”
Dr. Longo believes nutrition for healthy longevity can no longer be based on single pillars, such as epidemiological studies or short-term clinical trials.
“It must be based on the common denominator of basic research focused on aging, clinical studies, epidemiology, and studies of centenarians. This will take a lot of the confusion out of nutrition research.”