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Over on this thread, Khurram wrote:

 

My CR is diet is (and has been in auto pilot). Yup same for years: raw veggies and a few Purina Primate LabDiet biscuits -- about 1200-1300 total cal/day -- is routine.

 

Khurram,

 

I know you're a minimalist and for the sake of convenience and cost you've chosen to consume the monkey chow rather than whole foods. While I'm skeptical of that approach, I can respect and understand your perspective.

 

But I'm curious why you have chosen Purina primate chow, and that particular formulation, as the supplement to your high veggie diet? Back when you started eating the monkey chow there weren't many options, but today there are quite a few meal replacements alternatives designed for people. I'm wondering why you've stuck with the primate chow, and whether you've considered or tried some of the others.

 

In particularly, the primate chow you're eating has pig fat ("procine animal fat preserved with DHA") as one of the top ingredients. Not only does this preclude it as an option for veg[itari]ans (which you apparently don't care about - fair enough), but it result in there being nearly as much saturated fat as MUFA in the biscuits. That seems less than optimal in my book. Perhaps even more importantly, the monkey chow is 25-30% of calories from protein - which seems much too high given our current understanding of the role of (reduced) dietary protein in health and longevity. 

 

I thought you might have chosen that particular monkey chow because it was what they fed the monkeys in the NIA primate study, where both control and CR monkeys lived a long time relative to most monkeys in captivity, and which some of the credit may have gone to their healthier diet formulation compared with the Wisconsin monkeys. But in fact, both the Wisconsin monkey diet (Teklad #85387 - see table 1 of this paper for details) and importantly, NIA monkey diet had lower saturated fat (no pig fat as an ingredient) and much lower protein (only 15-17%) than the chow you've chosen. The composition of the NIA monkey chow link is courtesy of Michael's mega-review of the CR primate study.

 

(Side Note: Michael - in your review of the CR monkey results, did you notice that the NIA monkey chow formulation has 0.1256% (by weight) added methionine in addition to the methionine that was in the fish meal protein that comprised a pretty large part of the chow? Given the apparent benefits of protein/methionine restriction, could this have contributed to the failure of CR to work in the NIA monkeys?!  As I recall, the CR monkeys didn't exhibited reduced IGF-1, while human CR practitioners do, except those eating a high protein (hence higher methionine?) diet [Fontana, 2008 PMID: 18843793] ).

 

Khurram, I can understand you might not be able to get your hands on the NIA monkey chow, but what made you choose this high protein formulation from Purina (5057/5058) relative to the 5037/5038 formulation, with basically the same ingredients as 5057/5058 but much lower protein, i.e. 15-17% - which the chow in the CR monkey studies?

 

Moreover, now that there are many more options these days for "human chow", I'm curious why you're sticking with the monkey chow. Here are a few, with some of my observations about them:

  • Ensure - Perhaps the most oldest and most familiar meal replacement, has lower protein (14% of calories) and no animal fat, but it also has a lot of added sugar so isn't the best option. It is about $3 / 500kcal.
  • Soylent - The current darling of the geeky meal replacement crowd. From its nutrition facts, its basically just water, maltodextrin, canola and algae oil, soy protein powder and a multivitamin. Far from ideal, but vegan, only 20% of calories from protein, and  reasonably low in saturated fat (2.5g / 500kcal serving) It too is about $3 / 500kcal when you buy it in liquid form, a little bit less in powder, but you need to supply your own fat/oil, and water.
  • Huel - Short for Human Fuel. Its a UK competitor for Soylent, although with more protein (30% of calories!) and more saturated fat (3.5g / 500kcal) from MCT powder from coconuts. No soy (pea protein instead), and carbs and fiber from Oats, rather than carbs from maltodextrin. Otherwise pretty crappy ingredients + a multivitamin. Cheap - only about $2 / 500kcal.
  • Ambronite is a better meal replacement shake alternative, made from (mostly) organic, whole food ingredients, but it also has too much protein (24% of calories), and it is quite expensive ($8.50 / 500kcal!).
  • Meal Squares are nice because they are small cakes rather than a shake, but they have too much protein (40% of calories!), aren't vegan (contain eggs, whey protein), way too much saturated fat (4g/400kcal from coconut oil), are padded with isolated vitamins, but aren't too expensive (~$3.75 / 500kcal).

Honestly none of these is close to optimal from my perspective, even for a heavily-processed meal alternative. They either have too much sugar (Ensure, Soylent), aren't vegan (MealSquares) and/or have too much protein (Heul, Ambronite, MealSquares). If I had to pick one, Ambronite looks the best, but its also the most expensive, not surprisingly.

 

In case you're wondering why I've done all this research, I've been kicking around the idea of trying to develop a better alternative to all these. Not so much for me - I enjoy whole foods and have plenty of time for meal prep and eating. But for other people who want a convenient and healthy meal replacement alternative.

 

Does anyone know of other meal replacement alternatives out there? What would people think of, and want to see in, a healthier CR-friendly, meal replacement formula? Mega-muffins and Mega-leather were earlier attempts at this, but I think we could do better today. The question is would anyone be interested?

 

--Dean

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Michael - in your review of the CR monkey results, did you notice that the NIA monkey chow formulation has 0.1256% (by weight) added methionine in addition to the methionine that was in the fish meal protein that comprised a pretty large part of the chow? Given the apparent benefits of protein/methionine restriction, could this have contributed to the failure of CR to work in the NIA monkeys?!

First, please note that protein restriction ≠ methionine restriction. Methionine restriction actually works to extend lifespan independently of CR (though, in fact, there is room for debate even there); protein restriction does not, or does so minimally. Moreover, in the MetR studies, they explicitly keep total protein teh same. This is noted quite explicitly (and not just observable in the 'Methods') in (1):

 

These results cannot be attributed to diminished protein intake; MR rats consumed more protein than their CF [control-fed] counterparts when corrected for either body weight (MR: 0.87 g/day vs. CF: 0.58 g/day) or lean body mass (MR: 6.2 g/day vs. CF: 4.9 g/day). Conventional CR, where carbohydrate not protein content is sacrificed, is neither protein restriction nor MR. In a preliminary comparison of weight-matched MR and 40% CR rats, CR rats consumed more methionine (CR: 0.16±0.03 g/day vs. MR: 0.02±0.003 g/day) than MR and amounts comparable to CF (0.18 g/day).(1)

 

Second, if you look at nearly all rodent or monkey chow, you will see added Met and/or Cys in nearly all animal chow: this is there to balance the amino acid profile of the cheap protein sources they normally use and/or bring the level up to the animal's "RDA." This is just a basic control diet.

 

Relatedly (and you didn't quite do this, Dean, but you're coming up on the edge of it): as I've pleaded many times before: please, please, please, people, stop muddying the water by referring to limiting one's intake of some nutrient to RDAish levels as "restriction" of that nutrient! Biogerontological studies of protein-, Met + Cys-, Leu-, Trp-, protein, or Calorie restriction involve restricting consumption of these nutrients to levels far below the animals' "RDA" intake; with the exception of CRI don't practice or endorse that, and neither does anyone I know of (including a few folks who do, unfortunately, refer to what they do as "restriction" of that nutrients).

 

I'll have more to say on these and related matters in a hopefully-not-too-outrageously-delayed forthcoming post.

 

As I recall, the CR monkeys didn't exhibited reduced IGF-1, while human CR practitioners do, except those eating a high protein (hence higher methionine?) diet [Fontana, 2008 PMID: 18843793] ).

Fontana asserted this in the media, on what basis I don't know, but the available data don't support it: if you look at the text and Table of the mega-review of the CR primate study you posted, you'll see that IGF-1 was measured (once, and without binding proteins) in young and old monkeys in both studies, and while it was not reduced in the "CR" (read: obesity-avoidance) animals in WNPRC, it was reduced at NIA, opposite to what you might expect from the lifespan results and eliminating your worry here.

 

Khurram, I can understand you might not be able to get your hands on the NIA monkey chow, but what made you choose this high protein formulation from Purina (5057/5058) relative to the 5037/5038 formulation, with basically the same ingredients as 5057/5058 but much lower protein, i.e. 15-17% - which the chow in the CR monkey studies?

 

But, remember, he's eating these with supplemental veggies — I assume a fair amount.

 

Does anyone know of other meal replacement alternatives out there? What would people think of, and want to see in, a healthier CR-friendly, meal replacement formula? Mega-muffins and Mega-leather were earlier attempts at this, but I think we could do better today. The question is would anyone be interested?

 

I think MegaMuffins are pretty damned close to perfect Human Chow aside from their lack of shelf stability, and could be modestly tweaked to meet a variety of different CR diets. What makes you think them suboptimal(izable)?

 

-Michael

 

 

Reference

1. Malloy VL, Krajcik RA, Bailey SJ, Hristopoulos G, Plummer JD, Orentreich N. Methionine restriction decreases eral fat mass and preserves insulin action in aging male Fischer 344 rats independent of energy restriction. Aging Cell. 2006 Aug;5(4):305-14. Epub 2006 Jun 26. PMID: 16800846

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Thanks Michael! Great to hear from you on this topic.

 

So from your response I take it that you think the added MET in the NIA primate diet was a red herring. Too bad...

 

Even worse is the apparent fact that IGF-1 was reduced in the NIA (CR?) monkeys, since I have been pinning hopes that our response to CR was different than that of the NIA monkeys - i.e. lower IGF-1 in CRed humans but not CRed monkeys. If we can't hang our hat on such a difference, then it makes it seem even less likely that modest, adult-onset human CR will extend our lifespans. :(xyz

 

Regarding Mega-muffins. They're terrific, but as you well know, they are a royal PITA to make, and would be extremely difficult to try to commercialize (or even distribute to friends) due to their not-easily-sourced-in-bulk ingredient list and limited shelf-life.

 

I'm thinking of a competitor to Soylent and its ilk, made from better, but still commercially sourceable, ingredients and with better macro- & micronutrients.

 

--Dean

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Apologies ... didn't see this thread until someone just referenced it in one of my other threads!

About MegaMuffins and other classic CR recipes...been there, done that. Too much labor! 

BTW: Does Andrea still offer her mail-order service?

 

Khurram, I can understand you might not be able to get your hands on the NIA monkey chow, but what made you choose this high protein formulation from Purina (5057/5058) relative to the 5037/5038 formulation, with basically the same ingredients as 5057/5058 but much lower protein, i.e. 15-17% - which the chow in the CR monkey studies?

 
But, remember, he's eating these with supplemental veggies — I assume a fair amount.

Bingo, Micheal! 

 

Most of my cals come from raw, finely-shredded veggies. To that, I add a two biscuits (23 kcal/each), crushed up a bit. Very much like croutons. 7-8 biscuits/day. The biscuits  are fortified, like breakfast cereals.

Bottom line: most of my macros -- yup, even protein and fat -- come from those raw, finely-shredded veggies. Mostly: broccoli, kale, red cabbage, spinach

I don't consume carby veggies, like carrots or potatoes; and no avocados, nuts, seeds, or fruits.

Edited by KHashmi317

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KH, congratulations for your stoic regime, I'm impressed when I see people so much elevated above basic sensorial levels, and I'm not being hyronical here but genuine, since I'm still attached to good taste.

 

By the neurological mechanism outlined by Stephen Guyenet in his 'hungry brain' book, such a boring (to most people) regime is also ideal for CR, since it tends to downregulate the hunger thermostat and makes it easier in a way to stick to a rigorous CR diet.

 

What's your average daily quantity of veggies, in weight? Do you use spices and dressing like EVOO to make them more palatable? 

Edited by mccoy

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Thanks KH, that makes sense and is reassuring that the biscuits represent only a small addition to an otherwise Whole Foods diet. Valter Longo recommends in the longevity diet book taking multivitamins every so often ( though not daily to mitigate risk from taking from non whole food sources) and it sounds like you are using similarly except that it may be additionally substituting for other elements like other sources of fiber. If supplementing with additional whole food sources is not appealing to you, why not use the human equivalent ( vitamins / nutrient powders / fiber) which may have been more studied and better adapted for humans - for simplicity?

 

If it is a small % of your daily calories - which seems to be the case from your estimate, It probably won’t do much harm. An overly monotonous diet may have its own risks on both sides of the benefit/risk equation but it looks like you have given this consideration and are hedging your bets a bit with the supplement.

 

I love the food sources you mention but with so many potentially beneficial phytonutrients both known and also yet to be discovered and not necessarily present in the biscuits ( and potential toxin diluting effect of diversification) , have you considered expanding your regular staples - or is it perhaps simplicity that is the primary motivator here as well?

 

For at least the core micro and macronutrients it would be interesting to run your diet through cronometer, both without and with the biscuits included - have you ever tried doing anything like that?

 

Thanks for sharing!

Edited by Mechanism

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"Whole Foods" ?? -- don't shop there. None of my veggies are organic. No ingredients sourced from anyplace other than local supermarket, Wal-Mart or Target.

 

Forgot to add: a bit of protein via 1 packet/meal Knox gelatin.

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Sorry KH, my iPhone autocorrect strikes again!

 

I mean “whole” by unprocessed unrefined and minimally refined ( primarily plant-based) diet. As in “real food” Michael Polan style ( https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20090323/7-rules-for-eating) - food your great grandmother would recognize.

 

Why Knox gelatin?

 

BTW, I share a curiosity about the mega-muffins. I seem to remember Michael R was able to dig up the latest recipe version from the archive... If anyone makes or sells a batch I would love to try this CR classic once.... heck if you bring your monkey chow to a CR reunion if we ever get to one I would consider taking a bite for that too (just curious, how do they taste?) ????

Edited by Mechanism

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Instead of a human chow (ala Soylent or primate chow) I would be very interested in a whole foods/CR version of blue apron, or a CSA style system that delivered one well designed large salad with (almost) everything that you would need. A more modest version of Dean's daily meal. Could be designed taking both nutrition and price into consideration.

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Instead of a human chow (ala Soylent or primate chow) I would be very interested in a whole foods/CR version of blue apron, or a CSA style system that delivered one well designed large salad with (almost) everything that you would need. A more modest version of Dean's daily meal. Could be designed taking both nutrition and price into consideration.

 

+1 on that, it would save a lot of time & hassle

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