Vegan Dieting

Vegan Dieting is more than just a diet it is life extension!

Healthy vegan dieting is reaching a significant number of people who are turning to vegan diet every day due to ethical, health or environmental reasons. Although refined carbs are not considered healthy, whole-food plant-based carbs are found to be beneficial. The best carbs, according to many doctors, are those with low glycemic index, such as leafy green vegetables. As many of us are aware, carbs are the main fuel source of the body. Refined carbs, such as, white rice, white bread cause spikes in blood sugar. One gram of carbohydrates can provide roughly 4 calories of energy – the same amount one gram of meat or protein would provide. However, consumption of carbohydrates ensures the safety of animal life. [1]

A big goal of ideal sustenance is the amount of longevity it provides. A longer life with no disease is the true definition of longevity. The misconception is longevity just means you live longer. However, imagine most people live the last decade in suffering, yet with longevity you live a healthier life till the end. Even though aging is an inevitable dynamic and progressive process that causes morphological, function, hemodynamic and psychological changes to help an individual adapt to changes, it usually sets the basis of a heightened vulnerability.

Coincidentally, an aged person finds it harder to adapt – owing to the pathological processes, atrophy and other detrimental changes that are set off within an individual. [2]

On a cellular level, aging and longevity correlate with the mitochondria. The mitochondria are known as the powerhouse of the cell. The mitochondria releases “reactive oxygen species” (ROS), which have unpaired electrons. Unpaired electrons make them highly reactive and often cause cell death. The result, cell death on all levels from subcellular, cellular, to supracellular. By eating healthy with lots of bright colored and green vegetables, your cells are healthier. Moreover, exercise, especially cardio helps with longevity. There is strong evidence a fasting or fasting mimicking diet increases lifespan and cancer survival rates. [4] Throughout ages, different diet plans have been suggested to get that miraculous pattern to achieve longevity. It was confirmed that dietary restrictions of some sort produced a healthier lifestyle. [5] Diets with proteins were previously promoted, then some claiming all food groups should be taken in unison. According to a renowned researcher on the Biology of Aging, Dr. David Sinclair (PhD), longevity can indeed be achieved by dietary restrictions. [6] He proposed that manipulating the ratios in which we consume these food groups can lead to desirable results. In an experiment with his colleagues on rodents, they formed two groups. Group A did not have any dietary restrictions whereas the latter Group B had a restricted diet. The former had shorter lives and had a greater incidence of diseases, whereas the former lived longer and healthier lives. Longevity and health were optimized when protein was replaced with carbohydrate to limit compensatory feeding for protein and suppress protein intake. [7]

Dr. Sinclair explains the link between longevity and lowered protein intake. According to his research, a low protein level causes a high deacetylase SIR2. This increases expression of SIRT1, which deacetylates DNA repair factor Ku70, ultimately driving proapoptotic factor BAX away from the mitochondria. In lay terms, eating less proteins, leads to inhibiting cell death, which thus slows down aging.

The book, The China Study, discuss the importance of carbohydrates in diet. People are normally scared of highly processed and refined carbohydrates but the complex carbohydrates are very much in demand. Fresh vegetables and fruits not only fulfill vitamin deficiencies but also ward off dangerous effects of ageing. Diets like Atkins and South Beach Diet that promote carbohydrate restriction and higher fatty protein consumption can result in rapid weight loss, yet the detriment is ill-health in years to come. Moreover, animal products like proteins can stimulate cancer in cells and manifestation of chronic diseases. There are a lot of healthy carbs, such as carrots and broccoli that provide a strong shot of vitamins. [9]

Another great Italian researcher, Valter Longo (PhD), has proposed a protein restriction is a recipe for longevity. [10] He is the Edna Jones Professor in Gerontology and Professor in Biological Science at the University of Southern California (USC). He is also the Director of the USC Longevity Institute. He urges his followers to adopt a vegan lifestyle with little to no meat. He, himself, eats mostly plants, like legumes, vegetables and flour products. The key is to limit simple carbohydrates and eat lots of complex carbohydrates. For protein, he eats fish at times.

According to Dr. Valter Longo, restricting calorie intake, especially proteins, can extend lifespans by as much as 50%. In an experiment on Methuselah mice, protein restriction led to longevity in subjects. Following a diet high in carbohydrates can achieve a threefold increase in number of people over the age of 80 by 2050. [11]

In his book, The Longevity Diet, Prof. Longo advocates the consumption of a whole food plant based diet where fresh vegetables and legumes form the major portion of meals and simple carbohydrates like breads or pasta are consumed in smaller amounts. He may be successful now, but he grew up in poverty in one of the smaller towns of Italy, Molochio. There, he used to eat what was available. Raised on a diet of beans and scanty pasta, Longo realized this specific combination of foods is what earned his little town the honor of greatest population longevity!


[1] Slavin, J., & Carlson, J. (2014). Carbohydrates. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 5(6), 760–761.

[2] López-Otín, C., Blasco, M. A., Partridge, L., Serrano, M., & Kroemer, G. (2013). The hallmarks of aging. Cell, 153(6), 1194-1217.

[3] SKULACHEV, V. P., & LONGO, V. D. (2005). Aging as a mitochondria‐mediated atavistic program: can aging be switched off?. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1057(1), 145-164.

[4] Cassilhas, R. C., Viana, V. A., Grassmann, V., Santos, R. T., Santos, R. F., Tufik, S. E. R. G. I. O., & Mello, M. T. (2007). The impact of resistance exercise on the cognitive function of the elderly. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 39(8), 1401-1407.

[5] Greer, E. L., & Brunet, A. (2009). Different dietary restriction regimens extend lifespan by both independent and overlapping genetic pathways in C. elegans. Aging cell, 8(2), 113-127.

[6] Sinclair, D. A. (2005). Toward a unified theory of caloric restriction and longevity regulation. Mechanisms of ageing and development, 126(9), 987-1002.

[7] Solon-Biet, S. M., McMahon, A. C., Ballard, J. W. O., Ruohonen, K., Wu, L. E., Cogger, V. C., ... & Gokarn, R. (2014). The ratio of macronutrients, not caloric intake, dictates cardiometabolic health, aging, and longevity in ad libitum-fed mice. Cell metabolism, 19(3), 418-430.

[8] Cohen, H. Y., Miller, C., Bitterman, K. J., Wall, N. R., Hekking, B., Kessler, B., ... & Sinclair, D. A. (2004). Calorie restriction promotes mammalian cell survival by inducing the SIRT1 deacetylase. science, 305(5682), 390-392.

[9] Campbell II, T. M. (2004). The China study: the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted and the startling implications for diet, weight loss and long-term health. BenBella Books, Inc..

[10] Longo, V. D., Antebi, A., Bartke, A., Barzilai, N., Brown‐Borg, H. M., Caruso, C., ... & Ingram, D. K. (2015). Interventions to slow aging in humans: are we ready?. Aging cell, 14(4), 497-510.

[11] Fontana, L., Kennedy, B. K., Longo, V. D., Seals, D., & Melov, S. (2014). Medical research: treat ageing. Nature News, 511(7510), 405.