The protein paradox – resolving the roles of dietary protein in obesity, ageing and age-related disease
Reducing protein intake (and that of key amino acids) extends lifespan, especially during mid-life and early late-life. Yet, due to a powerful protein appetite, reducing protein in the diet leads to increased food intake, promoting obesity – which shortens lifespan. That is the protein paradox. In the talk I will first explore both sides of the paradox, introducing nutrient-specific appetites, protein leverage, FGF-21, and macronutrient interactions on metabolism and ageing. I will then attempt to resolve the paradox by considering age-specific effects and the quality of dietary protein (amino acid balance) and carbohydrate. I will conclude by showing how these pieces fit together and play out in the modern industrialised food environment to result in the global pandemic of unhealthy ageing.
About Stephen J.Simpson :
Stephen Simpson is the inaugural Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre and Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney.
After graduating as a biologist from the University of Queensland, Steve undertook his PhD at the University of London, then spent 22 years at Oxford before returning to Australia in 2005 as an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow.
Stephen and colleague David Raubenheimer developed an integrative modelling framework for nutritional biology (the Geometric Framework), which was devised and tested using insects and has since been applied to a wide range of organisms, from slime moulds to humans, and problems, from aquaculture and conservation biology to the dietary causes of human obesity and ageing.
Stephen has also pioneered understanding of swarming in locusts, witah research spanning neurochemical events within the brains of individual locusts to continental-scale mass migration.
In 2007 Stephen was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, in 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, in 2015 was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, and in 2022 he was awarded the Macfarlane Burnet Medal of the Australian Academy of Sciences.