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Path to Longevity (new book) by Luigi Fontana

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15 hours ago, Todd Allen said:

No one believes doping promotes longevity.

 

If your going to quote someone keep it in context please. I explain that in the full quote as being a likely confounder.

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2 hours ago, mccoy said:

RE. Protein: again, the literature is confusing and it risks to become a degree-of-belief approach, like in many other topics in nutrition science.

In my considered opinion, you guys are all correct in one way ore another.

  • There is a protein maximum threshold for muscle protein synthesis (MPS), that's indisputable. Otherwise, we might eat 400 grams of protein per day and get bigger than Ronnie Coleman
  • What is that max threshold is a function of many variables, like individual metabolism, type and intensity and volume of exercise, type of protein, and so on. Here the literature becomes controversial. 
  • When Mike Colella says he didn't grow in muscle eating tons of protein, I really believe him and I'm not very much different from him. but stating bluntly that the RDA is enough to promote considerable MPS is a long shot, contrary to the laws of biology, even in young people, although it may be true for the limited amount of people who are strong absorbers of nutrients and who naturally have a low requirement for protein. For these people, the RDA may be twice their minimum requirement. But  probably that's about the 10th percentile of the population.
  • The energy input, especially from carbs, seems to have a protein-sparing effect, that is an abundance of energy requires less protein for MPS.
  • In the end, I believe that the fair thing to say is that, providing we are interested in promoting some MPS, and we should be over a certain age, we should strive to optimize the amount of protein in such a way that we get the maximum results in terms of MPS with the minimum amount of protein.
  • The above would entail ingesting many carbs, but this may have detrimental effects on glycemia.
  •  As far as I'm concerned, I'm still trying to understand which is my optimum amount. I believe, approximately it may be in between 1.2 and 1.6 g/kg/d, with my present volume and intensity of exercise, which is not much. I might require more but only if I  increase the loadings and the volume.
  • One way to optimize may be to eat more protein in exercise days and less in normal days, taking advantage of the anabolic window of opportunity which also decreases the requirement of protein for MPS.
  • Some bodybuilders seem to require less protein than we might think, for example I studied the case of the natural vegan bodybuilder Torre Washington, who in his forties used to eat 100-150 grams of vegan protein per day, which is not much, in my estimate it was on average 1.5 g/kg/d of plant-based protein, far less than the 2.2 advised to bodybuilders of just animal protein! But he may be in that 10th percentile which I cited above.

image.png.d2f933d80bc8e8a88f0bd440ae91245d.png

 

 

Work, diet and genetics. Genetics imo being the biggest factor. Hell I knew guys that did no weight lifting and they were built solid and muscular in their teens. I was very jealous! 

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2 hours ago, Mike41 said:

Work, diet and genetics. Genetics imo being the biggest factor.

Indeed, genetics is very important, although hard work can make up for it in part.

In the meanwhile, I downloaded the kindle edition of Fontana's book. To me it appears that he's mainly concerned with high-protein diets, especially hi-animal protein diets, by people who do not exercise strenuously. Also, he cites articles where protein supplementation did not cause more MPS, or 25% protein did not cause more MPS than 15% protein. That can be true, if the diet includes enough natural protein. For example, 15% protein in a 3500 per day kcals regime means about 140 grams of protein. Also, as I wrote before, the intensity and volume of exercise are governing factors. 

Luigi Fontana states that a valid reference is still the official 0.8 g/kg/d RDA. We've discussed many times this value derived from the Randd et al. studies, which is a cautious estimate in people with mixed protein regimes (animal+plant based protein) and no significant exercise beyond usual daily activities.

Fontana also writes: 'the marked effect of weight-bearing exercise alone is mostly responsible for maintaining and increasing muscle mass when consuming an adequate intake of protein'. I construe the above meaning that maintaining and increasing moderate muscle mass is possible with an RDA quantity or little more. A significant increase of muscle mass is probably excluded from this reasoning because it usually goes against empirical observations. 

He also cites the 30 gr of protein plateau, but in the studies this is not a fixed amount, which varies according to age (in elders seems to be more like 40 grams) and with time from exercise (the value drops soon after resistance exercise). Also, the value is a function of how many muscles have been exercised. A whole body, strenuous workout may imply a higher threshold than for example an upper body workout. Working with heavy loads causes micro damages which may require more protein for muscle tissue repair. The variables are many.

Last but not least, it seems that limiting protein and especially animal protein promotes health and longevity. But sarcopenia does not promote that. So, again, it seems that we should aim for an optimum balance, the less protein for the most muscle mass. I would add that it is a personal choice what to privilege. Some people in this forum privilege low protein and CR to the expense of muscle mass. Others, like myself, privilege maintenance of muscle mass even if it implies more protein. But I'm careful not to exceed, and try to give the body more protein when it needs it (after workouts), limiting it when the need is lesser.

Edited by mccoy

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Me agrees with both mccoy and Mike. Good points and they make sense.

According to Cronometer, my average protein intake is 137% of RDA over the last year and frankly, I don't see how I can reasonably lower it.  It's virtually all plant protein (rarely cheese, usually on pizza :)  It also seems that methionine absorption from plant protein is lower than from the equal amount of animal protein, which I find comforting.

As among other things my IGF-1 has dropped from 185 to 161 over the last year, I am happy with my protein intake.

 

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It should also be told that some vegan authors suggest that a diet based on plant foods requires 10 to 20% more protein than a mixed diet, that is the RDA would become 0.9 to 1.0 g/kg/d.

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29 minutes ago, mccoy said:

It should also be told that some vegan authors suggest that a diet based on plant foods requires 10 to 20% more protein than a mixed diet, that is the RDA would become 0.9 to 1.0 g/kg/d.

I would say that some vegan authors are wrong.  You should check out the Joe Rogan podcast with Chris Kresser and James Wilkes.  

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Fontana is very adamant in his latest book “ the path to longevity” wrt protein. Too much is very bad! Cancer and heart disease etc.  He says optimal is about .8 gms/ kg. And he insists aaThe data is overwhelming that plant protein is superior to animal sources for longevity! 
image.png.c9bed8aefb979c083e34d4b4409e826d.png

Edited by Mike41

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3 hours ago, Mike41 said:

[Fontana]  insists...The data is overwhelming that plant protein is superior to animal sources for longevity! 

Apparently Fontana (like Longo) is okay with some amount of fish,  based on this chapter 9 subheading (I haven't read the details):

               "Fish: substitute meat with fish for the good of your heart 127"

 In any case,  he thinks a longevity diet can be enhanced  by including a little EVOO:  

              "Extra-virgin olive oil: the healthiest condiment 129"

He could be biased, though.   He's Italian!

 

 

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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22 hours ago, pete533 said:

I would say that some vegan authors are wrong.  You should check out the Joe Rogan podcast with Chris Kresser and James Wilkes.  

I listened to that podcast, where did they discuss amounts of protein in vegan diets?

My source is Melina Vesanto, who wrote a treatise on vegan nutrition, arguably the best in its genre.

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14 hours ago, Mike41 said:

Fontana is very adamant in his latest book “ the path to longevity” wrt protein. Too much is very bad! Cancer and heart disease etc.  He says optimal is about .8 gms/ kg. And he insists aaThe data is overwhelming that plant protein is superior to animal sources for longevity! 

Again, it seems we are listening to the usual party line. I would be cautios with the overwhelming data, the issue is so controversial that probably nothing is overwhelming.

It would be more objective to express in more cautious terms.

For example I remember David Sabatini, the man who discovered mTOR, clearly saying that an excess of protein does not amplify mTOR activity in such a way to cause necessarily cancer. What causes that kind of overdrive in mTOR is a type of cancer itself. So, we could have an issue of reverse causation.

Also, when Fontana writes in his book that the excess protein which are oxidized cause an hyperexpression of mTOR, I remain skeptical.Oxidized Leucine, for example, would no more trigger mTOR activity. Amminoacids oxidize into NH4 compounds, urea mainly, which is eliminated. Can increased urea  cause an overdrive the mTOR pathway?

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In the podcast, James Wilkes brings up a study done on pigs.   It was a study using a Forrest plot.  I am not a scientist, but even Kresser seemed to agree that vegetable protein was as absorbable as animal protein.   I think it doesn't really matter anyway.  I track everything on Cronometer, and although I am 70 and Longo thinks someone my age should get slightly more,  I take his recomendation and add 10% and it is still easy to do.  I don't know how it is in Europe, but Americans are crazy about getting enough protein.  

I will eat fish in restaurants, if I ever get to go to a restaurant again.  Only because I like it, and not because I think I need it in my diet.   Eating animal protein is what contributed to my ill health, not getting too little of it.   Been a vegan since March of 2019, and I fear it is too little and too late.  

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4 hours ago, pete533 said:

In the podcast, James Wilkes brings up a study done on pigs.   It was a study using a Forrest plot.  I am not a scientist, but even Kresser seemed to agree that vegetable protein was as absorbable as animal protein. 

I don't remember that part. What I remember is that, incredibly, Chris Kresser did not know what a forest plot is. Traditionally, Jones' index has been used to convert from nitrogen to protein and it is significantly lower for vegetables, mushrooms, whereas some dairy products have higher values. Also, the matrix in some animal proteins is more favorable to digestion. But I certainly agree that you can thrive and grow muscles on a vegan diet, I've experimented it. On the long run it made me nauseous though.

4 hours ago, pete533 said:

I don't know how it is in Europe, but Americans are crazy about getting enough protein.  

In Italy it's certainly not like that. Italians are rather crazy on cereals: pasta, pizza, bread. The diet is pretty unbalanced. Some guys ingest an excess of protein, but usually not many. And they drink coffee in excess.

Italian diet is not as healthy as some American people believe. 

Edited by mccoy

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https://www.thelancet.com/journals/ebiom/article/PIIS2352-3964(19)30239-7/fulltext
 

I think the central point is that animal sources have loads of methionine and BCAAs. Not sure why this study obsessed over red meat. All animal sources tend to be considerably higher then plant sources. So as Michael Pollan says:

Eat Whole Foods, mostly plants and not too much. That’s about all you need to know.
 

Lifespan and metabolic health are influenced by dietary nutrients. Recent studies show that a reduced protein intake or low-protein/high-carbohydrate diet plays a critical role in longevity/metabolic health. Additionally, specific amino acids (AAs), including methionine or branched-chain AAs (BCAAs), are associated with the regulation of lifespan/ageing and metabolism through multiple mechanisms. Therefore, methionine or BCAAs restriction may lead to the benefits on longevity/metabolic health. Moreover, epidemiological studies show that a high intake of animal protein, particularly red meat, which contains high levels of methionine and BCAAs, may be related to the promotion of age-related diseases. Therefore, a low animal protein diet, particularly a diet low in red meat, may provide health benefits. However, malnutrition, including sarcopenia/frailty due to inadequate protein intake, is harmful to longevity/metabolic health. Therefore, further study is necessary to elucidate the specific restriction levels of individual AAs that are most effective for longevity/metabolic health in humans

Edited by Mike41

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6 hours ago, mccoy said:

matrix in some animal proteins is more favorable to digestion

True.  There's a thread(s) with some good data and links  related to this topic.  I'll look for it when I get a moment.

 

13 hours ago, mccoy said:

My source is Melina Vesanto, who wrote a treatise on vegan nutrition, arguably the best in its genre

The author is  Vesanto Melina.   I have the book Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina.  It's a good resource, but  it does have a few gaps.   The CR Society rules! (If you're good at using the search function).

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I just read chapter form 13 on of Fontana's book. In one part he seems really to suggest bodybuilding exercises and some reps scheme are just done to maximize hypertrophy. In other parts he seems to suggest free-body exercises and of course, aerobics is always good.

In support of resistance exercise, he cites growth of muscle and bones, so prevention of osteopenia is another important aspect of resistance training.

So, at the end, what Dr. Fontana hates is the exaggeration in some bodybuilding regimes and the abuse of protein and carbs.

But that's a part where almost everyone agrees I believe.

What I repeat that muscle and bones need amminoacids to get stronger and resilient. A mere RDA regime may be not enough for intense resistance exercise.

Edited by mccoy

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7 hours ago, mccoy said:

What I repeat that muscle and bones need amminoacids to get stronger and resilient. A mere RDA regime may be not enough for intense resistance exercise.

I agree, but I don't even know how someone who eats even a varied vegan diet (me, nowadays) can stay at RDA levels.  I am purposefully trying to limit protein (actually, mostly to keep methionine low) and I am at 131% of RDA.  I seem to remember that Dean, who I believe also tries to keep protein low, is at around 1g or so per kg.

If my memory is right, the average American is closer to 1.5g.

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13 hours ago, Ron Put said:

... I am at 131% of RDA.  I seem to remember that Dean, who I believe also tries to keep protein low, is at around 1g or so per kg.  If my memory is right, the average American is closer to 1.5g.

I agree with Mccoy that a 100% vegan diet  would probably require "10 to 20% more protein than a mixed diet, that is the RDA would become 0.9 to 1.0 g/kg/d. "   (That refers to protein primarily from whole foods, not necessarily vegetable protein isolates.) 

So your 131% of RDA intake  coming from a pure vegan diet  in reality  represents a protein intake not much greater than RDA levels, if at all,  when absorption/bioavailability is taken into consideration.  No?

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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7 hours ago, Sibiriak said:

So your 131% of RDA intake  coming from a pure vegan diet  in reality  represents a protein intake not much greater than RDA levels, if at all,  when absorption/bioavailability is taken into consideration.  No?

You are likely right, and in a way, I hope so.  I had posted something elsewhere, which supports your bioavailability claim.  I consume very little rice anyway.

My muscle mass is nothing like Clinton's or mccoy's, but it's proportionately very high, given my mid-18 BMI nowadays.  I don't like gyms, but do rotate 125 push-up days (sets of 25) with 40-50 pull-up days (sets of 10), do some Pilates,  do 3-4 minute continuous planks every other day, etc..  Again, I don't look like Clinton and Mccoy, or Ronnie Coleman, but I look better than most people my age (which admittedly, is not hard :)

The bottom line, moderate vegan protein can maintain muscle mass, as long as one does engage in strength exercise.

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I've been reading a few parts of Fontana's book today. Excellent summary, I particularly appreciated his views on optimal markers of health (as low as possible, within range, as high as possible). In other parts, he ends his discussion on a rather moderate stance (for example, CR not necessary to decrease much). He cites the CR monkeys studies as if they had been conclusive about the benefits of CR (in this forum the results have been judged less conclusive on inconclusive).

Re. bodyweight, it's one of those parameters which must be kept in range, he cites 18.5 as the lower bound (is that it or 18 or 19? Starting to suffer some memory impairment!!).

Very interesting, the studies where optimal blood glucose is a function of HDL. He's also a supporter of as low as possible LDL and cites interesting lipids indexes like the non-HDL cholesterol which may be more indicative than mere LDL, since it includes VLDL particles as well.

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19 hours ago, Ron Put said:

My muscle mass is nothing like Clinton's or mccoy's, but it's proportionately very high, given my mid-18 BMI nowadays.  I don't like gyms, but do rotate 125 push-up days (sets of 25) with 40-50 pull-up days (sets of 10), do some Pilates,  do 3-4 minute continuous planks every other day, etc..  Again, I don't look like Clinton and Mccoy, or Ronnie Coleman, but I look better than most people my age (which admittedly, is not hard 🙂

The bottom line, moderate vegan protein can maintain muscle mass, as long as one does engage in strength exercise.

The routine you mention is not bad at all, even though might be improved, something like a session with 10X10 pull-ps, 25X5 push-ups and 10X10 dips. That's more time-consuming but it's a powerful free-body session. You might even alternate, one day such an upper body routine, another day squats, planks, other legs exercises and cardio.

The fact that vegan protein can maintain and even increase muscle mass is a sure thing. Natural vegan bodybuilders like Torre Washington and Nimai Delgado are an example.

But there are other factors. One is hunger and digestive power. The strongman Patrick Baboumian eats 400 grams of vegan protein per day including huge dishes of beans and protein powders, I doubt most vegan guys would be able to gorge so much. 

With your 130% percent you should be able to boost muscle protein synthesis, but probably you need more calories and more carbs.

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The oldest rhesus monkey ever recorded (at least 43 years old) died. 😞He was on a CR diet. 

Luigi says that he was 42, but he was 43 in 2017. When Luigi says "he died recently" - I don't know if that means like back in 2017 or as recent as 2020. 

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On 7/5/2020 at 8:25 PM, mccoy said:

He's also a supporter of as low as possible LDL

He may very well be right.  On the other hand,  while it's generally agreed that  low LDL is good,  there is some evidence that the curves associated with various outcomes may be u-shaped.

For example, this recent  study:

Low Levels of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol and Mortality Outcomes in Non-Statin Users (2019)

Quote

5. Conclusions

We demonstrated that low levels of LDL-C concentration (<70 mg/dL) was not associated with protective effects on overall mortality in relatively healthy Korean adults who do not take lipid lowering agents.

While men with the lowest levels of LDL-C concentration (<70 mg/dL) are at risk of increased all-cause, cancer, and even CVD mortality, and even though the association between LDL-C concentration and CVD mortality was U-shaped in men, the lowest levels of LDL-C concentration were significantly and independently associated with increased risk of CVD mortality.

These findings suggest that more attention might be needed for subjects with no statin-induced decrease in LDL-C concentrations. Further large-scale, population-based research with long-term follow up is warranted in other ethnic groups to re-evaluate the relationship between low levels of LDL-C and mortality outcomes.

 

 

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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Low LDL-C and mortality from cancer, and all-cause mortality has been discussed so many times around here and on the CR email lists.

The drop in cholesterol can occur even 10-years prior to cancer diagnoses and it's not that low LDL it'self is the cause, but a preclincial marker of a disease and ill health (even if it hasn't become apparent yet). 

A drop in cholesterol in response to CR is a normal response to CR and that doesn't elevate cancer risk. 

It's like the increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke from having low LDL-C. But when you have very low blood pressure and have extremely low levels of chronic inflammation (as people on CR have) this increased risk is ameliorated. Plus you are protected from ischemic stroke.

@Michael R, @Dean Pomerleau

Any comments on this?

Edited by Matt

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6 hours ago, Sibiriak said:

We demonstrated that low levels of LDL-C concentration (<70 mg/dL) was not associated with protective effects on overall mortality in relatively healthy Korean adults who do not take lipid lowering agents.

Matt makes a good point above, this is one weird study.  Or at least the authors' conclusion doesn't make sense.  Quickly looking at the data in Table 1, it would also appear that those with the lowest LDL-C values also have lower triglycerides, lower blood pressure, lower fasting glucose, lower BMI, lower smoking rates, etc..  Why not attribute their higher mortality to any of these factors, rather than to LDL-C?

What is unusual is that those with the lowest LDL-C also had higher values in the column for history of diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease, and were more likely than the other groups to be on medication for such conditions.  To me, this would indicate health issues that would be much more significant factors than LDL-C levels.

One other likely factor which I didn't see mentioned in the study cited by Sibiriak is the size and number of LDL particles, which is increasingly considered to be a significant predictor of CVD-related mortality.  But LDL particles generally correlate with triglyceride levels, so the study is still rather weird.  See this, for example:

LDL Particle Number and Risk of Future Cardiovascular Disease in the Framingham Offspring Study – Implications for LDL Management

Among alternative measures of LDL in this large, community-based study, LDL particle number was more strongly related to incident CVD events than LDL-C. Of particular relevance to the use of specific LDL treatment targets as indicators of the adequacy of LDL lowering therapy was the finding that low LDL particle number was a better index of low CVD risk than low LDL-C. Non-HDL-C provided risk prediction intermediate between LDL particle number and LDL-C, with evidence suggesting that the better prediction relative to LDL-C was due less to non-HDL-C including atherogenic triglyceride-rich particles (VLDL and remnants) and more to its strong correlation with LDL particle number. Finally, our novel finding that LDL particles are more cholesterol-depleted when LDL concentrations are lower, independent of triglycerides or LDL particle size, helps to explain why patients with low LDL-C often have disproportionately higher numbers of LDL particles (713). Our data show that persons with this LDL disconnect have higher CVD risk. ...

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