Anti aging guide

Dietary Restriction for Anti-Aging



Over the past several years research has confirmed that there is a way not only to live to an ‘ordinary’ old age but to live longer than anybody has lived before. This has been confirmed time and time again in hundreds of experiments. The way to do it is quite simple: just eat 30 per cent fewer calories than the amount usually consumed. But there is a catch. The experiments were mainly performed on laboratory animals like rats, mice, flies and monkeys, not humans.

The original experiments involved two groups of laboratory animals. The first group was allowed to eat as much as they wanted. The second group (consisting of animals from the same family, identical to the animals in the first group) was allowed to eat only a certain amount of calories. This amount was from 30 to 70 per cent less than the calories consumed by the first group.

The results were always consistent: the calorie-restricted group lived longer than the ordinary group (up to 100 per cent longer) and, in addition, the diseases connected with aging seemed to be less frequent and less severe than in the ordinary group.

We don’t know if the results can be applied to humans with the same certainty. But some indirect research has given a glimmer of hope. Small groups of volunteers who were on a diet for religious or weight reduction purposes agreed to take part in experiments to see if their diet made their bodies age more slowly than people who were eating normally. The results showed that some changes in the bodies of these volunteers were indeed similar to the changes seen in the laboratory animals. It is still too early to draw any long-term conclusions from this.

Other experiments performed by American scientists who took part in the Biosphere 2 project confirm these results. The Biosphere 2 project was an experiment designed to study, among other things, how humans can cope living in a completely self-sufficient environment. Those who took part in this experiment also tried a low calorie diet for some months. They noticed that on this diet their cholesterol and insulin were reduced, they lost excess weight and other signs of aging were reversed.

Although research on humans has not been as extensive as research on other animals, there are some scientists who suggest that dietary restriction (DR) may work in all humans as well. They suggest that if we apply these research results to humans we may see that with a controlled diet of about 1,700 calories daily for women and 1,900 calories for men, it may be possible to extend the maximum life span to about 150 years or more! These calorie requirements should be reduced by 2 per cent for every 10 years past the age of 35. There is no need to stay on a diet forever. All that is needed is to generally restrict the amount of food consumed and to follow certain guidelines. At least this should help those who want to lose excess weight!

Many centenarians living in several parts of the world do claim that their long life is due to their diet: a very low amount of calories and a large amount of fruit, nuts and other basic foodstuffs such as beans and corn, but very little meat. This is, in effect, a lifelong dietary restriction regime, as recommended by some experts in the field.

Nobody knows exactly how calorie restriction works. Certain scientists think that if we eat less food, our metabolism will have less work to do and it will slow down. Long-lived animals have a slow metabolism, as opposed to animals who live for short periods and have a very fast metabolism.

Other scientists believe that by eating less food, we limit the amount of free radical production and so the damage caused by free radicals is reduced. There is no doubt, however, that DR works in all the animals studied so far and many people hope that it may work in humans as well.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - February 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm