A US scientist claims to know how to live a longer and healthier life.
Geneticist Professor Cynthia Kenyon says it lies with eliminating carbohydrates and high amount of insulin from your diet, the UK's Daily Mail reported.
She discovered that the carbohydrates we eat, including bananas, potatoes, bread, pasta, biscuits and cakes, directly affect two key genes that govern youthfulness and longevity.
Professor Kenyon, who performed her study on roundworms, found that by tweaking some of their genes she was able to help them live up to six times longer and stay healthy.
Her discovery has been successfully repeated on other animals including rats and mice and there are signs that these genes are also active in humans.
Professor Kenyon, who is based at the University of California, San Francisco, said cutting the kilojoules consumed by the roundworms had a dramatic effect on their lifespan.
"Instead of dying at about 20 days, our first set of mutant worms carried on living to more than 40 days," she said.
"And they weren't sluggish and worn out — they behaved like youngsters. It was a real shock. In human terms it was the equivalent of talking to someone you thought was about 30 and finding they were actually 60."
Her more sophisticated genetic manipulation has allowed some of the worms to live for an astonishing 144 days (or 450 years in human terms).
During her study the gene that controls insulin was turned down, which in turn switched on another gene, which controlled the youthful effect.
"We jokingly called the first gene the Grim Reaper because when it's switched on, the lifespan is fairly short," she said.
The second "youthful" gene was named "Sweet Sixteen" because it turned the worms into teenagers. Scientists have also found that the "Grim Reaper" gene is linked to prostate, breast and colon cancer.
Despite some scientists saying it's too early to jump on a carbohydrates/insulin-free diet, Professor Kenyon has no doubts about her research.
"Carbohydrates and especially refined ones like sugar, make you produce lots of extra insulin. I've been keeping my intake really low ever since I discovered this," she said.