Diet has a much stronger impact on your cells than drugs, according to a pre-clinical study by the researchers of the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.

The study, published in Cell Metabolism, suggests that your diet could be more powerful than drugs in keeping chronic conditions like diabetes, stroke, and heart disease at bay, according to Science Daily.

The research conducted on a mouse model has shown nutrition had a greater impact on aging and metabolic health than three drugs that are commonly used for the treatment of diabetes and aging.

Senior author Prof. Stephen Simpson said drugs could also target the same biochemical pathways as nutrients. He said there has been a huge effort to discover drugs aimed at improving metabolic health and aging without requiring a change in diet.

Prof. Simpson said, “Diet is a powerful medicine. However, presently drugs are administered without consideration of whether and how they might interact with our diet composition – even when these drugs are designed to act in the same way, and on the same nutrient-signaling pathways as diet/”

“We discovered dietary composition had a far more powerful effect than drugs, which largely dampened responses to diet rather than reshaped them,” he added. “Given humans share essentially the same nutrient-signaling pathways as mice, the research suggests people would get better value from changing their diet to improve metabolic health rather than taking the drugs we studied.”

The researchers, in particular, found that calorie intake and a well-balanced diet consisting of protein, fats, and carbohydrates had a strong impact on the liver.

Total calorie intake and protein had a powerful impact on metabolic pathways as well as fundamental processes that control cell function.

On the other hand, the drugs mainly dampened the cell’s metabolic response to diet, instead of re-shaping them.

Lead author Prof. David Le Couteur said the study was very complex, but it helps us understand the importance of studying many different diets, rather than just analyzing a few different diets.

He said, “This approach is the only way we can get an overview of the interaction between diet, our health, and physiology.”

“We all know what we eat influences our health, but this study showed how food can dramatically influence many of the processes operating in our cells. This gives us insights into how diet impacts on health and aging,” Prof. Le Couteur added.