Restricted Dieting, The Key to Longevity
The Secret to Living Longer
Malnutrition has been linked to a number of diseases because of the lack of vitamins and minerals within the body. But what if I told you cutting down your calories could actually increase your lifespan? Studies show that eating less can prolong your life. There have been experiments on mice and yeast showing that eating less can increase life span, but for years, scientists have been stumped by this phenomenon — until now.
The first study to verify this claim was done by a scientist named Clive McCay in the 1930s. He experimented on rats by putting them on a very restricted diet, concluding that the rats’ lifespan extended by 33%.
Because of this, countless studies have been done on a multiple species, many of them coming to the same conclusion — restricted dieting can increase the lifespan of an organism.
It sounds pretty counterintuitive to me that decreasing calories can increase lifespan, but the rate of living theory and free radical theory help explain this phenonmenon.
Rate of Living Theory
“The Rate of Living Theory” states that a bigger organism has a longer lifespan because they have a slower metabolic rate. This theory arose from observing that larger animals tend to have longer lifespans than smaller ones.
Free radical theory
As you age your cells become damaged over time by “free radicals”, which are highly reactive molecules that are made by our metabolism. These free radicals can cause chronic conditions to occur as you age, such as heart conditions. This concludes that a slower metabolism leads to fewer free radicals being produced — increasing lifespan.
There have been limited studies done on human beings because of the ethical concerns, but one of the few that was conducted was the two year CALERIE trial study. It was a randomized clinical trial that split people into two groups: calorie reduction and a control group. Because the trial only lasted for two years, the goal was to look at any affects at decreasing the chances of getting a age related diseases.The idea was to reduce the calorie reduction intake by about 25%, but in practice their calorie intake was only reduced by 12%. Even though it wasn’t a high reduction of calories the subjects received a lot of benefits; lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, as well as improved insulin sensitivity.
It is important to note that many of the subjects had BMI in the overweight range, so the test results may not be the same for an average BMI individual. The test also failed to give any substantial evidence that a reduction in calories could increase life-span because of the timeframe of the trial, as well as restricting calories beyond a normal diet could improve health.
It is important to note that these are just theories, and there is a lot of controversy within the scientific community over this topic. That said, I hope you learn something today. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below, and I will be happy to answer them.