The equation is simple, the more we eat the faster we age.
Every time you put food into your mouth you are basically telling the cells to reproduce. Now this cycle is essential for life but as the cells replicate they do so imperfectly. This imperfect replication is what defines ageing. (Think of it as taking a photocopy, of a photocopy, of a photocopy)
Muscle mass is metabolically expensive to gain and maintain. Meaning in simple terms, it takes a lot of fuel (ie food) to grow and then keep it at the same size.
The food muscle likes is protein.
Protein fuels the mTor pathway which is the main driver of cell cycle progression (the photocopying) and thus ageing.
So simply by building muscle we are also driving ageing…to a certain degree.
But of course it’s not quite that simple…
Exercise itself has anti ageing benefits, it stimulates NAD (the current darling of the anti ageing community) but over exercise is as bad for your body as no exercise.
Over exercise is a stressor and like any stress it raises cortisol in the blood, which raises blood sugar, which raises insulin, which can over time lead to insulin resistance, which is very bad if staying youthful is your aim.
Ever seen one of those people who work out all the time and still have that little bit of fat around the waist they can’t shift…insulin resistance due to excess cortisol is one of the reasons.
Now that said a minimum amount of muscle is essential as it has many, many, protective benefits and the ratio of muscle to fat is equally important (keep muscle higher, keep white fat low) but it’s not as simple as more muscle is better, full stop.
So you need to decide exactly how much muscle mass you need for life and then exercise exactly enough to maintain that mass, if you are to age optimally.