Quest for a Long Life Gains Scientific Respect - NYTimes.com
Some attendees were so convinced of the virtues of less food that they have begun severe diets of various kinds. Cynthia Kenyon, of the University of California, San Francisco, said she had gone on a low-carb diet in 2002 after finding that food with even 2 percent sugar reduced the lifespan of the laboratory roundworms she studies. “Basically I try to steer clear of desserts and starches, though I do eat chocolate,” she said.
Her willowy figure makes her look at least a decade younger than her age.
Kenyon's research prompted her to make personal dietary changes. She stopped eating high glycemic index carbohydrates when she discovered that putting sugar on the worms' food shortened their lifespans.
Kenyon follows a low glycemic index diet similar to the Atkins diet and the South Beach Diet.
No desserts. No sweets. No potatoes. No rice. No bread. No pasta. When I say ‘no,’ I mean ‘no, or not much,’ she notes. Instead, eat green vegetables. Eat the fruits that aren't the sweet fruits, like melon. Bananas? Bananas are a little sweet. Meat? Meat, yes, of course. Avocados. All vegetables. Nuts. Fish. Chicken. That's what I eat. Cheese. Eggs. And one glass of red wine a day.
I have a fabulous blood profile. My triglyceride level is only 30, and anything below 200 is good.
You have to eat something, and you just have to make your best judgement. And that's my best judgement. Plus, I feel better. Plus, I'm thin—I weigh what I weighed when I was in college. I feel great —you feel like you're a kid again. It's amazing.
In the past, Kenyon had also briefly experimented with a calorie restriction diet for two days, but couldn't stand the constant hunger.
Interesting. Over time, it seems as if the antioxidant theory of aging is losing ground to the insulin theory of aging. This scientist is applying her research to her own health.