At a time when low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets are raging all over the internet as the ‘best weight-loss solution’, a recent study shows the health benefits of the exact opposite, low protein and high carbohydrate diet (LPHC).
In this study, published in the journal Cell Reports, the effects of LPHC diets on brain ageing were studied and compared with standard calorie-restriction(CR) diets through experiments performed on mice.
Previous studies of CR and protein restriction on brain health and neurodegenerative disease in ageing rodents have usually shown positive outcomes.
In the current study, CR diets and LPHC diets were associated with modest improvements in behavioural and cognitive outcomes, although the results were mainly limited to females and inconsistent.
Doctoral candidate Devin Wahl led the new study, and David Le Couteur, a professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Sydney was the senior author.
We have close to 100 years of quality research extolling the benefits of calorie restriction as the most powerful diet to improve brain health and delay the onset of neurodegenerative disease in rodents. However, majority of people have a hard time restricting calories, especially in Western societies, where food is so freely available.Devin Wahl
The diets had significant impact on systematic cardiometabolic outcomes, which are seen as risk factors for cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative disease.
Both CR and LPHC diets impacted on brain ageing in the hippocampus part of the brain. Although the behavioral and cognitive changes were subtle, there were more dramatic effects on gene expression, protein activity, and dendritic spine morphology.
A very low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet may be a feasible nutritional intervention to delay brain ageing.