Is Calorie Restriction the Key to Longevity?


While most people are motivated to lose weight to look more attractive and fit into old clothes, others have a far more important reason. Their lives may literally depend on it.

Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, GERD, sleep apnea, arthritis, dementia1 and Alzheimer's disease have all been linked to obesity.

Obesity has also been associated with premature death, calling into question the concept of "healthy obesity.”2

While there are thousands of weight loss tricks and gimmicks, one method guarantees it: calorie restriction.

This isn't just simply cutting back calories. It involves a dramatic reduction of caloric intake (up to 50% in some cases) below that for maximum growth and fertility, and ingesting nutritionally dense food to maintain overall health.

This can result in gradual weight loss and, potentially, a chance at a longer life.

Calorie Restriction Linked to Fewer Tumors and Longer Survival

A book called, The Retardation of Aging and Disease by Dietary Restriction3 contains a summary of research on the benefits of calorie restriction in roundworms, mice, rats, and flies.

Scientists witnessed incredible benefits including fewer tumors, improved immune function, and increased survival — some of these animals even exceeded the maximum life span observed for their species. A number of these findings were reported in the book Maximum Life Span.4

Calorie Restriction Lowers Cholesterol and Fasting Glucose Levels

Humans can also reap the benefits of calorie restriction. One of the earliest experiments involved a group of people who confined themselves to an artificial ecosystem for six months. They relied on food grown in a three-acre space, leading them to eat a calorie-restricted, yet nutrient-dense diet.

Some of the benefits seen were lowered weight, blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, and white blood cell count.5

In December 1994 a group of people interested in longevity formed the Calorie Restriction Society6. Since then, additional studies have been conducted on calorie restriction.

In 2004, a six-year long study was published showing the effects of calorie restriction. In comparison to people eating a typical American diet, those following a calorie-restricted diet experienced lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, C-reactive protein, and blood pressure. 7

Focus on the Long-Term Benefits of a Healthy Diet

While short-term weight loss goals are important, your focus should be on the long-term benefits of a healthy diet. Naturally, the same applies here.

By eating a calorie-restricted diet, you'll not only lose weight and potentially reduce your chances of disease, but you may even find yourself enjoying better days than you've ever thought possible.

References:

  1. Beydoun MA et al. Obes Rev. 2008 May;9(3):204-18.
  2. Kramer CK et al. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Dec 3;159(11):758-69.
  3. Weindruch R., Walford R. L. (1988). The Retardation of Aging and Disease by Dietary Restriction. Springfield IL: Charles C Thomas Pub Ltd.
  4. Walford R. L. (1983) Maximum Life Span. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co.
  5. Walford RL et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Dec 1;89(23):11533-7.
  6. Available at: http://www.crsociety.org/. Accessed January 2, 2014.
  7. Fontana L et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Apr 27;101(17):6659-63.

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3 comments:

Weight Loss Clinic Boca Raton said...

Keeping the daily calories you intake low is very important to weight loss and maintenance. We teach our clients to stay on a daily eating plan that's around 1800-2500 calories a day during the maintenance/ongoing phase based on their weight and exercise regimen. On the diet phase you should never go below 800 calories a day (medically supervised), otherwise you will end up losing muscle as well as fat, which you do not want. You only want to burn fat. Keep the calories low and at a healthy level to live a healthy lifestyle.

Stephen in Orlando said...

I have never been one for counting calories, but I would be lying if I said that it hasn't crossed my mind this month a few times. Given that it's American Heart Month, there have been plenty of articles laying out the risk factors for heart disease and giving advice on how to improve your heart health. That coupled with the studies laid out here really makes a strong case in my mind. At the moment though, I am simply making sure that I get regular exercise and eat more servings of fruits and veggies when I can.

Life Extension said...

Stephen in Orlando - Counting calories aren't absolutely necessary to maintain health, but in a calorically restricted diet it makes sense.

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