Carb Diet and Nutrition Part Of Your Anti Aging Strategy?

"It ain't fun getting' old... but it beats the alternative." Surprising new research indicates that a low carb diet may help us live longer. Since some of my friends have been so rude as to suggest that I'm "older than dirt" I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about aging... especially how to slow it down.

Low Carb Diet Nutrition

"The Anti-Aging Solution" seminar featured Vincent Giampapa, M.D. co-founder of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, which now has more than 2,000 physician members. The seminar included the usual anti-aging strategies that we are familiar with but don't always practice, such as reducing stress, eating the right foods, taking natural health supplements, heart vitamins and of course getting enough exercise.

 House of Nutrition

Then it started to get real interesting. Doctor Giampapa and his associates have taken these strategies to a new level by showing how our genes are affected by our lifestyle. Since I a proponent of the low carb eating approach, the role that sugar and other refined carbohydrates play in prematurely aging us was especially fascinating. The typical American diet of white flour products, snacks and fast foods quickly turns into glucose creating a domino effect, which plays havoc with our healthy heart goals.

Although the clinical studies showing the connection between low carb diets and longevity are recent, the evidence is very compelling. Dr. Cynthia Kenyon, a noted anti-aging researcher at U.C. San Francisco, has conducted an amazing experiment. Dr. Kenyon turned down the activity on a single gene in lowly earthworms and extended their life by an astounding 600%.

What is so interesting about this gene is that the human counterpart is a critical network of genes known as the insulin gene pathway which influences aging, fat storage and metabolism.

Here's how it works. Sugar is toxic to cells, (as a sweet-o-holic it pains me to write this) and this glucose overload causes the cells to become insulin resistant over time. When this happens you develop diabetes and are susceptible to a host of other life-threatening diseases. Medical researchers tell us that the vast majority of overweight people suffer from insulin resistance.

"High carb diets are lethal because they produce high levels of insulin and prevent your body from burning fat," says Jonny Bowden, a certified nutrition specialist and author of the book, "Living the Low-Carb Life."

Research data consistently find three common factors in people who are mentally and physically fit and live to be at least 100 years old. The first is low triglycerides, the second is high levels of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), and the third is a low level of fasting insulin.

"A low-carb diet improves all these variables," says Bowden. "So bingo, you just hit your three longevity bull's-eyes. Add exercise and sleep, which are proved to raise HDL, and you've got it made!"

Sounds like a good plan to me. Take advantage of these strategies to slow aging and improve your heart health for life!


The cardiologist looked up from the treadmill report and grimly stated, "You are a walking time bomb. You need to go to the hospital immediately." Two days later a heart surgeon sawed open Gene Millen's chest and stitched in bypasses to six clogged arteries.

"A six-way heart bypass isn't a record," said Gene, "but it's not bad for a skinny 59-year-old with normal cholesterol and blood pressure. The villains and heroes in the heart attack melodrama may surprise you as they have me."

Gene Millen reviews new research on heart attack risks that are more dangerous than high cholesterol... and how natural supplements and heart vitamins can send them packing! Check out The Heart Health website at

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Sports Nutrition

Cakes, pies, cookies, gravy, stuffing, cakes, pies, candy, cakes, did I mention cakes? Ah, the joy of Christmas! It's drawing closer by the day and I've got a dreadful feeling of joy and horror in my stomach.

The joy is the obvious part, but why the horror? No, it's not the Christmas shopping that scares the fecal matter out of me, nor the inevitable "do you really have to train on Christmas Day" comment from the wife. No, it's much simpler than that, although maybe simple is the wrong word; Food. Such a simple word, such a complicated issue.

In Norway we have a saying "without any oats the horses get weak". As we all know, this principle applies just as much to us humans. We need fuel to perform. Why then, do we make food and eating into such a complex matter?

I'm not going to lie to you, I've got just as much of a love/hate relationship to food as the next serious cyclist. At times I worry more about getting fat than a bride does the week before she is about to get married. It's sad and a bit pathetic actually. The whole thing is completely imagined and a product of one's subconscious mind.

The development and progress of an athlete consist of 3 basic items: training, eating and resting. All too often do we make the mistake of only focusing on the training bit, although the real progress takes place during the resting and eating phases.

 Eating sounds so simple, just put food in your mouth. But it's harder than that - eating has created problems, eating disorders. I pay close attention to what I eat, constantly. The food has to be healthy and rich in energy. Fruit, vegetables, whole wheat products, potatoes, and fish makes up the core of my daily diet. 

A very successful athlete once told me "the more I can eat, the more I can train". For a guy that tips the scales around 140-150lbs, I eat a lot. Huge amounts actually, but during my hardest weeks I also burn 5000-6000 calories a day or more. That energy must be replenished, with proper food.

Why then, do I worry when I step on the scale in the morning? I know my weight will never climb much above my optimal race weight, year round. But still, I worry. I am working hard at the mental part of this, trying to get rid of this negative thinking. 

Negative thoughts are a waste of energy, athletes need to focus on positive things, always. In order to perform to the max, an athlete needs to have a healthy, relaxed relationship to his own body. It can be better to be 2 pounds "overweight" and feel good about oneself, rather than spending lots of energy on trying to lose weight.

There is a direct link between the mental state of an athlete and his physical form and performance. We need to be in harmony, both physically and mentally. This is where most top athletes have room for improvement. Not to mention that hard training requires adequate energy-reserves. 

If the energy is not there, the body will not be able to respond properly to the high training loads. Of course, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that trying to lose 5-7 lbs before the race-season starts is a bad thing, not at all. But many riders don't eat enough, once the target weight has been reached, due to the fear of gaining weight again. This can directly, or indirectly, lead to injuries, illness, burn-out, over-training and a general lack of performance.

Patience is very important when you want to lose those extra 5 lbs before the season. Start early and plan to lose small amounts of weight per month. Remember that restricting the caloric intake too many results in a lack of performance during training, simply because your body does not have the energy available to perform. 

And that does you no good, absolutely no good at all. So do like the horses, dig in and watch your performance increase. Oh, and pass on the cake, it's over-rated anyway... If you keep telling yourself that, maybe someday you will believe it. Until then, be strong and ride hard.

I am a full-time endurance athlete, working towards the 2012 London Olympics. I maintain a blog, describing my ups and downs of training/racing. 


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