EAT LESS – LIVE LONGER
Putting just a bit less on your dinner plate each day might be key to a longer life, preliminary research suggests.
People who reduced their caloric intake by just 15 percent over two years experienced a significant decrease in their metabolism, according to a small clinical trial.
These folks also saw improvements in biomarkers associated with slower aging and longer life span, said lead researcher Leanne Redman. She’s an associate professor of clinical sciences at Pennington Biomedical Research in Baton Rouge, La.
STRENGTHEN YOUR BODY’S CORE
Specifically, they developed a lower core body temperature, lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and significant drops in hormones that moderate metabolism, researchers reported.
For this trial, Redman’s team recruited 34 healthy people with an average age of 40 to follow a calorie-restricted diet for two years.
Researchers taught the study participants how to cut 25 percent of their daily caloric intake using three different models of a healthy diet, Redman said. The participants then were free to follow their diet by any means they chose.
“On their own, they achieved a 15 percent reduction in calorie intake that was sustained for the two years, which is pretty remarkable,” Redman said.
CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT
On average, the group lost about 20 pounds, mostly in the first year, even though half entered the study at normal weight and the rest were only modestly overweight, Redman said.
Tests showed changes in metabolism and body processes mirroring those that have been linked to longer life span in animals and people, Redman said. The participants also had a significant reduction in oxidative stress related to their lowered metabolism.
The researchers said this offers support to controversial theories linking high metabolism and increased oxidative stress to faster aging.
“When we make energy, we have byproducts of metabolism, and these byproducts called oxygen radicals accumulate in the body and cause damage to cells and tissues,” Redman said. Such damage can cause cells to age faster and contribute to diseases like cancer.
EAT LESS LIVE LONGER
People who want to try to eat less in an attempt to live longer should focus on portion size while following a healthy and well-balanced diet, Redman said.
They should aim for lowering calorie intake by 25 percent, with the understanding that they will probably fall short of the goal, Redman said. They shouldn’t be discouraged if they don’t keep losing weight long-term.
“The goal is not to just lose weight . . . The goal is to maintain this sustained lower intake,” Redman said.
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