You’re relentlessly fed a one flavor narrative. You’re told it’s the only path to your success. Eat this way, end up that way. It’s a simple cause and effect. Your brain loves to recognize these patterns and relationships. Until you’re told that the complete opposite might be true. This new information can often laugh in the face of what you thought you knew. One such fact is the high protein, low carb diet strategy. It’s the way you must eat. If you want to feel healthy and look amazing, your macros must follow this plan. Except, this may not be true. Carbs are not the enemy. In fact, protein might be a saboteur to your health. Wait! What? Calm down. Keep the protein tubs in your pantry, but make sure you pay attention to the alternative perspective.
Try and plug high carb low protein into a search engine and it will give you results for the opposite. You made a mistake. Algorithms do not compute Except perhaps you didn’t make a typo. Researchers at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Center wanted to know what high carb low protein would to do living creatures, so they looked at mice. Okay, so you’re not a mouse, but you might be able to learn from them. They put mice on 33 different diets and found that a low protein (10% of dietary energy), high carb (70% of dietary energy) created the healthiest outcomes when carbs were healthy. However, they also created the unhealthiest outcomes when carbs were refined and of a low quality that had elements high fructose. It builds on other research that found high carb diets made mice live longer.
What this means for you?
Should you load up massive bowls of mashed potatoes? No. However, it means you should stop looking at carbs as your nemesis. Yes, the refined, low-quality types will destroy your health. However, healthy carbs will likely make you live longer. What do these look like? They’re foods such as oats, sweet potatoes, pulses, pumpkins, root vegetables and pretty much anything that was once growing. These foods also have the densest nutrient profiles and are packed with everything you need to be at your best. This low carb, high protein way of eating is well documented and helping to reduce people’s stress levels. The carbs boost your levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin that helps you to feel chill put you on the path to being relaxed. It’s why you probably demolish a bowl of pasta as comfort food when you’ve had a hectic day the office.
It’s tempting for you to shrug this off as only being relevant to creatures who inhabit sewers. However, there are humans who proven this way of eating. It’s been used for centuries in the Mediterranean and Japan who have some of the longest living people in the world. Even the residents of Okinawa have a diet that’s made up of just 9% protein. So, while protein is important and does help you build muscles, it’s not catastrophic if you don’t always have a massive fix of it throughout your day. That’s good news if you enjoy eating a protein shake because it will only make your supply last longer. You may not recover quite as quickly or build as much muscle, but if those aren’t your goals then you can adapt your protein intake to suit your lifestyle and as a result may clock up a few more trips around the sun.