'I'm a longevity researcher and I swear by this diet to reverse the ageing process and live longer'

Composite image of a man (left) and food on a table (right)

Yale University PhD student claims fat-free, low-carb, Mediterranean and vegan diets can boost longevity

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Adam Chapman

By Adam Chapman

Published: 14/05/2024

- 11:56

Updated: 14/05/2024

- 12:01

Raghav Sehgal of Yale University is actively researching interventions that may reverse ageing

Reversing the dial on ageing may seem quixotic but researchers working in this space vehemently disagree.

In an exclusive interview with GB News, a PhD student at one of America's most prestigious universities has revealed the dietary plans that his research has found to be most promising.

Raghav Sehgal of Yale University is currently working on developing ageing biomarkers that can help shine a light on interventions that may reverse ageing.

An epigenetic biomarker called 'Systems Age' that he has developed alongside Doctor Morgan Levine, Assistant Professor of Pathology at the same university, has been shown to reverse ageing in 20 different interventions ranging from pharmacological such as senolytics to lifestyle-based interventions such as diets.

Person chopping vegetables

The researcher suggests a low-carb approach is key to reversing ageing biomakers

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Epigenetics - the science that describes how our genes express themselves, and how this is impacted by external factors - is beginning to show us how we can help our genes operate as they were originally designed to do and slow or stop this accelerated ageing.

Certain dietary approaches are proving to be remarkably adept at reducing the epigenetic biomarkers that accelerate ageing, Mr Sehgal says.

What are they?

The PhD student looked at four different diets: fat-free, low-carb, Mediterranean and vegan, and "across the board the answer is consistent, pick any diet and you will see a reduction in these epigenetic biomarkers - to different extents of course but nevertheless you will see a reduction".

An extensive body of research suggests he's onto something.

Various studies have pointed to the longevity benefits of a diet focused on plant foods like fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, and that's moderate on lean proteins and low on red and processed meats.

The MIND diet, which combines elements of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, was recently shown to slow down biological ageing and reduce the risk of dementia.

The MIND diet emphasises plant-based foods (especially berries and leafy greens) and limited consumption of animal products and saturated fats.

Previous studies have linked greater adherence to the diet with reduced risk of dementia. But it has also been shown to benefit heart health, diabetes, and certain cancers.

The Mediterranean diet pictured

The MIND diet was recently shown to slow down biological ageing and reduce the risk of dementia

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Cycles of the fasting-mimicking diet can also reduce signs of immune system ageing, a recent study suggests.

The FMD is a five-day diet high in unsaturated fats and low in overall calories, protein, and carbohydrates and is designed to mimic the effects of a water-only fast while still providing necessary nutrients and making it much easier for people to complete the fast.

Adherents of the diet can be expected to eat plant-based soups, energy bars, energy drinks, chip snacks, and tea portioned out for five days as well as a supplement providing high levels of minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.
Previous research has indicated that brief, periodic FMD cycles produce the following benefits:

  • Promote stem cell regeneration
  • Lessen chemotherapy side effects
  • Reduce the signs of dementia in mice

In addition, FMD cycles can lower the risk factors for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other age-related diseases in humans, research suggests.

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