Calorie restriction

An increasing number of studies indicate that calorie restriction extends life in both animals and humans. Studies, beginning with the first one done at Cornell University in 1935, show that the lives of many different animals can be extended 30 to 40 percent and that age-related illnesses can be delayed when their caloric intake is restricted. Today, organizations such as the American Diabetes Foundation, the National Institutes for Health and Aging, and the American Heart Association are all doing research into calorie restriction and its impact on health.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who followed a calorie-restricted diet for six months experienced a 24 to 25 percent decrease in body fat, a decrease in DNA damage (which occurs with aging and contributes to disease processes such as cancer), and reduced both core body temperature and fasting insulin levels, two indicators of longevity. Overall, the changes experienced by the people on a calorie-restricted diet suggest that long-term calorie restriction may extend lifespan.

What You Can Do Now

Does calorie restriction mean you have to starve if you want to live longer? Not at all. The idea behind calorie restriction is to follow a low-calorie diet but to eat nutrient-rich foods; that is, you make every calorie count! Here are some tips on how to do it.

  • Include lots of high-fiber vegetables in your diet, and eat them raw when feasible.
  • Focus on monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids rather than saturated and/or trans fats.
  • Choose lean animal protein (including egg whites) and especially plant-based protein, which is typically much lower in fat than animal protein. Beans, legumes, tofu, and tempeh are protein-rich plant sources.
  • Choose whole, fresh fruits rather than fruit juices, which are higher in calories and sugar and have less fiber than whole fruits.
  • Choose whole-grain breads, cereals, and pasta rather than those made with refined flours.
  • Avoid sugar and sugary foods, processed foods, and fried foods.

Experts and those who follow a calorie restrictive approach emphasize that it is a lifestyle, not a fad diet or a short-term approach. You can learn more about calorie restriction for longevity in the “References” section at the end of this site.

Category: Fight aging now