Calorie Restriction (CR) is considered by some to be the most scientifically validated way to extend life span. Reducing the number of ingested calories—while maintaining healthy intake of essential nutrients—triggers a cascade of anti-aging mechanisms in the body. This retardation of aging delays the onset of degenerative disease while improving biomarkers of youth, ranging from metabolic rate and insulin sensitivity to cardiac health and cognitive function. By the same token, the consequences of caloric over consumption are equally profound. Every excess calorie brings you one step closer to age-related illness and death. Eating more than your body needs (excessive energy intake) can load the blood with triglycerides, glucose, homocysteine, and pro-inflammatory chemicals. The results are accelerated aging processes, prompting deterioration across multiple biomarkers of health.
Over the past six posts we have discussed three fascinating ways to enjoy the benefits of CR, I thought it would be helpful to summarize our findings and share what I’m doing.
1) Calorie Restriction: In the post 15 Incredible Benefits of a Life Extending Calorie Restricted Diet, we introduced a concept which has been around since 1935. And that is by reducing calories (1,725 for men and 1,500 for women) while consuming sufficient essential nutrients, we can live twenty or more years longer. This has been clinically observed in Okinawans and others around the world who follow the CR Way. The benefits range from reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, neurological diseases and Type-2 diabetes to a more youthful physiology. In the post, Twelve Scientific Studies That Confirm the Amazing Benefits of Calorie Restriction, scientific studies published by Harvard Medical School, the Journal of American Medical Association, the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute to name a few validate evidence that CR does provide amazing health and life extending benefits.
2) Intermittent Fasting: Intermittent Fasting (IF), a form of CR, delivers the same health benefits of a strict CR lifestyle. In the post, Intermittent Fasting: A CR Lifestyle That Significantly Improves Health and Extends Lifespan, we shared five methods of IF. So, you have a number of options to add extra years to your life. Hugh Jackman, for example, uses LeanGains which is an exercise and 16-8 IF regimen to maintains an incredible physique. Dr. Michael Mosley, MD took us through the different forms of IF and introduced us to cutting edge scientists who demonstrated evidence of IF’s life extending benefits.
3) Nutrients That Mimic CR: At the core of CR lies favorable alterations in gene expression—one of the body’s adaptive responses to reduced calorie intake. By activating certain genes and disabling others, caloric restriction dramatically slows aging. Fortunate for us, there has been considerable research into nutrients which mimic the benefits of CR. In the posts, 5 Incredible Nutrients That Mimic the Health & Longevity Effects of Calorie Restriction (Part 1) and Part 2, we provided 52 studies published in the US National Library of Medicine (NIH) that support the research that five nutrients significantly play a role in: 1) Controlling Nuclear Factor-kappa B, 2) Suppressing Inflammatory Cytokines, 3) Preventing cancer and 4) Enhancing glucose control. For those of you who don’t want to live the Spartan life of a CR lifestyle and aren’t interested in IF, this may be your choice.
4) Larry’s Plan: My choice is to combine all three plans. I lived on a strict 650 calories daily for one month without hunger pains or weakness. So, I know I can restrict calories. BTW, this diet is called CRON (Calorie Restricted Optimal Nutrition). It included loads of vegetables, 8 oz. of chicken or fish daily, oatmeal, eggs, and fruit. Since a CR diet for a male is around 1,725 calories depending on physiology and activity, I can eat like a king! Well, maybe a lean king. Check this CBS video, Taking Calorie Counting Up A Notch, to see what a CR diet looks like. Because I eat breakfast late, I’m going to implement the Intermittent Fasting 16-8 diet. (16 hours of fasting and eating all three meals within an eight hour period.) And lastly I will include the five nutrients mentioned in the last two posts. No use taking any chances. I’ve got my bases covered!