Low-protein high-carb diet shows promise for healthy brain ageing – is this true? Comments from Alzheimer’s Society…

Low-protein high-carbohydrate diets may be the key to longevity, and healthy brain ageing in particular, according to a new mice study from the University of Sydney published today in Cell Reports.

The research from the University’s Charles Perkins Centre shows improvements in overall health and brain health, as well as learning and memory in mice that were fed an unrestricted low-protein high-carbohydrate diet. Learning and memory was assessed via a series of spatial awareness and memory tests, with researchers noting modest improvements in male and female mice at both young and old ages.

‘There are currently no effective pharmaceutical treatments for dementia – we can slow these diseases, but we can’t stop them – so it’s exciting that we are starting to identify diets that are impacting how the brain ages,’ said lead author Devin Wahl.

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, commented: ‘This diet appears to promote some aspects of healthy brain ageing in mice, but we don’t know if it would have the same effects in people or whether it could impact the risk of developing dementia.

‘Although this study looked at brain ageing generally and not dementia specifically, mounting evidence highlights the relationship between lifestyle factors such as diet and dementia risk, so Alzheimer’s Society is funding a long-term study of 700 people at risk of dementia to better understand these links.

‘With nothing yet to slow or stop dementia, prevention is key – and we know simple changes like eating healthy and exercising regularly can reduce our risk, so why not swap box sets and biscuits for a brisk walk.’