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What’s the best diet for longevity – and for losing weight?
What’s the best diet to stay younger and live longer?
There are countless diets. Which one should you choose?
For example, some of the more popular diets are the ones that advise to substantially reduce carbs, like the paleo diet, keto diet or Atkins diet. There are diets that shun fats, like the Ornish diet, and you have high-fat diets that advise you to eat lots of fats. Then there are the strange diets, like the ones that tell you to mainly eat fruits or drink smoothies.
How do you see the forest from the trees with all these diets, which oftentimes contradict each other?
The problem with most diets
The problem is that most diets don’t look at the big picture, nor do they look at the long-term effects. Rather, they mainly focus on short-term results such as weight loss.
Most diets have “great” short-term results, such as weight loss and improved metabolic biomarkers (like lower triglycerides), but are unhealthy in the long-term and can actually accelerate aging.
The first diet to focus on slowing down aging
Therefore, we at NOVOS propose a diet that approaches nutrition from an entirely new angle: aging.
We maintain that the best diet is a diet that slows down aging, with the aim of keeping you younger and healthier for longer.
Such a diet will automatically lead to weight loss, given a diet that slows down aging is the most healthy diet possible, not only improving metabolism but also addressing the root cause of all aging-related diseases, which is aging itself.
Furthermore, approaching a diet from the viewpoint of aging enables us to better assess the long-term effects of specific foods and diets.
Long-term effects of certain “healthy” foods and diets
Let’s look at some examples of how insights into aging can help us to better see if certain “healthy” foods diets are really healthy in the long-term.
Take for example milk. Whether milk is healthy or not is a fierce debate that has been raging on for decades. There are studies showing milk is healthy, given regular milk consumption could, for example, reduce the risk of colon cancer (R) (unfortunately many studies are directly or indirectly funded by the dairy industry), while there are also many studies showing that milk is unhealthy, given it can increase the risk of prostate cancer (R), Parkinson’s disease (R), and even increase mortality (R).
However, if you approach the milk discussion from an aging perspective, you can immediately see that milk is very likely unhealthy, especially in the long term, given that milk accelerates aging in many ways.
For example, milk contains substances that activate multiple powerful aging pathways, like mTOR, IGF and insulin receptors. The more you activate these receptors, the faster you age.
Also, milk is made by nature to make calves grow quickly. One prominent, red thread running through all aging research is that “accelerating growth” accelerates aging, and increases the risk of multiple aging diseases, like heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Is high protein good or bad?
Another example are high-protein diets, like the classic paleo diet, Dukan or Atkins diet. Often, these diets result in substantial weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, lower triglycerides and so on.
However, these are all short-term effects. If you consider these diets from an aging (biogerontological) viewpoint, one can predict that these diets are very likely to accelerate aging in the long term.
For example, one very important mechanism that causes us to age is accumulation of proteins inside and outside our cells, a process that also plays a role in various aging diseases, like in Alzheimer’s disease or aging-related heart failure. Consuming lots of animal proteins accelerates this process.
Activation of “nutrient-sensing pathways” in the cell by amino acids (like the mTOR receptor), accelerates aging. If you eat meat, you strongly activate these nutrient-sensing pathways.
Giving various species (including humans) lots of animal protein shortens their lifespan and increases their risk of aging-related diseases.
Too much animal protein accelerates aging, as hundreds of scientific studies have shown (just as too much sugar and too many unhealthy fats also accelerate aging).
What about the keto diet?
Another very popular diet is the ketogenic or keto diet. Like the paleo diet is also a very low carbohydrate diet (you eat little sugars and starches), but instead of lots of protein you consume lots of fats.
However, this is also not a good thing in the long term. Our bodies have difficulty in progressing fats (after all, fats and our watery bodies don’t mix well together). Fats have the annoying tendency to stick everywhere around in our body, and are difficult to process and store. Many fats, especially long-chain saturated fats, can induce inflammation, for example by directly stimulating immune cells.
Nonetheless, some fats can be healthy, including even specific saturated fats (like butyric acid and caprylic acid). But it’s not that most fats are healthy and that you can eat large amounts of fats (like some diet gurus claim), or that most fats should be shunned (as many governments want you to believe). It’s more complicated than that.
Both the paleo and keto diet bring people into ketosis (because very little carbs are consumed), but they achieve this in an unhealthy way. Ketosis is healthy, as long as it is reached by not eating high amounts of animal protein or fats, like when you are fasting.
The Mediterranean diet
Then there is the Mediterranean diet. This diet promotes the consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, white meat and whole grains. This diet is healthy, especially if you compare it to the classical unhealthy western diet. However, it still puts too much emphasis on grains.
The paleo diet, keto diet and Mediterranean diet are a few examples of how insights into the aging process can help us to much better assess diets, especially in the long term.
Most diets are unhealthy. Here’s what you should do
The conclusion is that most diets are unhealthy.
However, based on insights into aging and nutrition, we created the “NOVOS Longevity Diet”. This diet aims to slow down aging and provide the best possible health outcomes for its followers. The weight loss will follow automatically.
This diet consists of 7 simple rules:
1. Eat much less bread, potatoes, pasta, and rice.
2. Replace potatoes, pasta, and rice with (extra) vegetables (mainly), legumes,
mushrooms or quinoa. Replace bread in the morning for example with oatmeal/chia seed/cauliflower/chickpea porridge made with plant-based milk (e.g. hazelnut, cashew, almond milk).
3. Vegetables are the base of the NOVOS longevity diet. Fruit, legumes, mushrooms, and quinoa are healthy additions.
4. Eat little or no red meat (beef, pork, and sheep) and more fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and sardines), poultry (chicken, turkey), mushrooms, tofu (miso, natto, tempeh), or mushroom-based or pea-based meat substitutes.
5. Drink lots of water, several cups of green or white tea per day, and one glass of freshly pressed fiber-rich fruit or vegetable smoothie. Coffee is allowed in moderation (maximum 3 to 5 cups per day). Use alcohol very sparingly (maximum one glass per day, including alcohol free days).
6. Replace animal milk or yogurt with low-sugar plant-based (e.g. hazelnut, almond, soy cashew) milk or yogurt. Cheese and eggs are allowed in moderation.
7. Take smart health supplements, such as selenium, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, B vitamins, magnesium malate, and iodine. Take smart longevity supplements (that contain alpha ketoglutarate, fisetin, glycine, NMN, etc.), like NOVOS Core and NOVOS Boost.
As you can see, this diet is not an “extreme” diet, like a high-fat diet or high-protein (paleo) diet.
Nonetheless, the NOVOS longevity diet incorporates insights from these diets (like not drinking milk and consuming much less grains).
But it does not agree with other recommendations of these diets (like loading up with animal protein or fats, which is not healthy in the long-term).
The best diet is one based on insights into aging, the fundamental causes of aging-related diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
You can download a poster of the NOVOS Longevity Diet here:
You can stick it on your refrigerator and email it to friends and family that you want to keep healthy!