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Healthy diet better than drugs to stop chronic disease

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Don’t rely on drugs, improving your diet is the best way to prevent diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

A healthy, balanced diet trumps drugs such as the antidiabetic metformin and heart drug rapamycin—and helps slow biological ageing and helps maintain overall metabolic health.

Drugs to prevent or manage chronic diseases are often prescribed without any thought about diet—but it’s the wrong way round.  A diet that balances proteins, fats and carbohydrates is far more effective than drugs, say researchers from the University of Sydney.

What we eat is how we age say the researchers, who tested the impact of different variations of the balanced diet on the liver.  Protein and total calorie intake were especially important for maintaining healthy metabolic functions and the way our cells age.  The diet also influences the mitochondria, the ‘energy packs’ in our cells.

This also has a positive impact on our cells’ ability to make new cells, the researchers say.

But metformin and rapamycin both blocked these processes and stopped proteins from reaching the mitochondria.  “People would get better value from changing their diet to improve metabolic health rather than taking the drugs,” said Stephen Simpson, one of the researchers.

(Source: Cell Metabolism, 2021; doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2021.10.016)

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Article Topics: nutrition
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