Calorie Restricting – How Far Can It go?

A recent issue of Science magazine says that all organisms benefit from cutting calories, suggesting that less complex organisms can double or even triple lifespan. More complex organisms, like humans, don’t have quite the same upside, but “those who practice the strict diet hope to survive past 100 years old,” the article continues.
healthy-people-eating

According to the issue of Science, experts report that “calorie restriction influences the same handful of molecular pathways related to aging in all animals that have been studied.”

Wikipedia reports, “Two main lifespan studies have been performed involving nonhuman primates (rhesus monkeys). One, begun in 1987 by the National Institute on Aging, published interim results in August 2012 indicating that CR confers health benefits in these animals, but did not demonstrate increased median lifespan; maximum lifespan data are not yet available, as the study is still ongoing. A second study by the University of Wisconsin beginning in 1989 issued preliminary lifespan results in 2009, and final results in 2014. It found that CR primates were only 36.4% as likely to die from age-related causes when compared with control animals, and had only 56.2% the rate of death from any cause.


Science goes on to say that some folks have cut their calorie intake by 25% or more in the hopes of lengthening their lifespan.

“But first author Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, is less interested in calorie restriction for longer life than in its ability to promote good health throughout life.

“The focus of my research is not really to extend lifespan to 120 or 130 years,” says Fontana, research associate professor of medicine at Washington University and an investigator at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome, Italy. “Right now, the average lifespan in Western countries is about 80, but there are too many people who are only healthy until about age 50. We want to use the discoveries about calorie restriction and other related genetic or pharmacological interventions to close that 30-year gap between lifespan and ‘healthspan.’ However, by extending healthy lifespan, average lifespan also could increase up to 100 years of age.”

Sadly many humans are going the opposite way. “As obesity reaches epidemic rates in Western countries, Fontana says rather than closing the 30-year gap between healthspan and lifespan, the gap is likely to grow. It’s even possible lifespan may decrease as people develop preventable diseases such as atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer.”

Check out the link for full details.

Tony

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Filed under aging, calorie restriction, calories, healthy eating, men and healthy eating

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