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Open Access Research

Consumption of a low glycaemic index diet in late life extends lifespan of Balb/c mice with differential effects on DNA damage

Scott A Nankervis1, Jenee M Mitchell1, Fadi J Charchar1, Maree A McGlynn2 and Paul A Lewandowski2*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Health Sciences, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Australia

2 School of Medicine, Deakin University, Geelong, Vic 3217, Australia

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Longevity & Healthspan 2013, 2:4  doi:10.1186/2046-2395-2-4

Published: 1 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Caloric restriction is known to extend the lifespan of all organisms in which it has been tested. Consequently, current research is investigating the role of various foods to improve health and lifespan. The role of various diets has received less attention however, and in some cases may have more capacity to improve health and longevity than specific foods alone. We examined the benefits to longevity of a low glycaemic index (GI) diet in aged Balb/c mice and examined markers of oxidative stress and subsequent effects on telomere dynamics.

Results

In an aged population of mice, a low GI diet extended average lifespan by 12%, improved glucose tolerance and had impressive effects on amelioration of oxidative damage to DNA in white blood cells. Telomere length in quadriceps muscle showed no improvement in the dieted group, nor was telomerase reactivated.

Conclusion

The beneficial effects of a low GI diet are evident from the current study and although the impact to telomere dynamics late in life is minimal, we expect that earlier intervention with a low GI diet would provide significant improvement in health and longevity with associated effects to telomere homeostasis.