Calorie Restriction and Anti-Aging
Calorie Restriction Diets are popular in the anti-aging field now. What are they all about and is this something you should be doing?
I recently read an article in Scientific American (www.sciam.com) about Calorie Restriction and Aging. What was significant about the article was that it was a reprint from an article 10 years ago, yet the subject matter is nevertheless quite new.
If you're not familiar with the calorie restriction concept, it's based on studies done on rats and other types of creatures such as fruit flies and fish. These studies go as far back as the 1930s and show that maintaining a limited calorie diet can literally slow the signs of aging. Animals that remained on this diet not only lived longer but were far healthier during their advanced years. One of the noteable side effects was a loss of fertility.
Most of the diseases associated with aging such as cancer, diabetes, cataracts and hypertension were significantly delayed in the limited calorie rats. The benefits included:
Decreased body temperatureLater sexual maturationDecreased weightLess abdominal fatDecreased cholesterol and triglyceride levelsLater onset of age-related diseasesLonger life span
Needless to say, the next step was testing on primates. In 1987, testing was started on rhesus and squirrel monkeys. Although the preliminary results look interesting, it's a little too soon for anything conclusive. The test subjects had their food consumption decreased by 30-40% of what was considered normal for their species.
What About Humans?
Since the article 10 years ago was published, the calorie restriction field (CR) has become quite popular. In fact, there is now an organization of individuals dedicated to the CR way of life. One of the findings from the experimental studies is that a CR diet may diminish free radical production. Free radicals are what increases the aging process.
Obviously, just reducing your caloric intake isn't what CR is all about. It's not a matter of limiting your fat, protein or carbohydrates. Supplementation alone with vitamins or antioxidants doesn't work either. You'll need to decrease the calories you consume, not the nutrients. Get knowledgeable about CR first. The link at the end of this article will give you some resources if you are interested in exploring further.
For most of us, maintaining a calorie restricted diet as a means of anti aging is not an choice we would consider. In CR, a regular meal of 1200 calories would be decreased to 940. Without the proper knowledge and guidance, one could easily become malnourished.
A Word of Warning
This article is only meant to inform about the advances made on the subject of anti aging and nutrition. In the same issue of Scientific America, there was an article on how scientists disagree on whether some amount of fat is beneficial in the elderly and another article on teenagers that starve themselves to death. The best advice is still to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. The link at the end of this article will give you some healthy alternatives in the aging process.
Into The Future...
Because of the studies done on CR in animals, scientists are now working on an calorie restriction mimetic (in pill form) that would allow humans to get the benefits of a CR diet without feeling hungry. Isn't technology grand?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For more resources on CR diets and to get the free book "Perpetual Well Being - 4 Steps to Ageless Sex Appeal", go to: Calorie Restriction and Anti-Aging