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Prevent Aging by Eating Less

Ran across an interesting article in today’s Wall Street Journal. The first paragraph is intriguing:

“In the 1930s, researchers stumbled onto a surprisingly simple way to slow the biological forces of aging: cutting normal calorie intake by about a third. Scientists found it boosts animals’ life spans by 30% to 40%, and considerable evidence suggests that calorie restriction, or CR, would slow human aging too.”

How does calorie resitrction actually help you live longer? People have many assumptions as to why this is the case. Slower metabolism, fewer free radicals and reduced cellular divisions are all cited in research literature.

In the article, Harvard Prof David Sinclair provides a new explanation, linking calorie restriction to activation of specific gene that produces many of the life-extending effects. Dr. Sinclair has started a company to pursue commercial application of a drug that will activate this gene, without any need to change your diet.  

Perhaps it would be more effective, and more safe, to just educate people on the merits of a vegan/vegetarian or mostly raw-food diet? These diets are typically lower-calorie (I say typically, as it is very possible to be an unhealthy vegan).  That fact that over $80 million has been raised by Dr. Sincliar’s company is testament to the potential market demand. It amazes me how people would be more willing to spend money on a new drug with potential unknown side effects than make a natural dietary adjustment.  

 

2 comments

  1. ravisraman says:

    I don’t think it is easy to cut calories, but do think it is natural thing for the human body. Most of us have NEVER forced our body into any state of scarcity when it comes to food. We rarely go more than 12 hours without eating. We also tend to overfeed because we feed ourselves with low quality nutrients (i.e. foods that are lacking the micronutrients needed for alkalizing the blood and propery assimilation of the macronutrients).

    Eating less of higher quality foods, and fasting periodically, can help the body normalize. When the body is in a balanced state, craving actually dissappear, and you can eat less while maintain (or even gaining) lean body mass and strength. This is my own personal experience, and that of my vegan/raw-food friends.

  2. Contrary says:

    Interesting that you feel it is natural and a simple decision to cut calories by 30%. Studies show that is natural for humans to desire more calories than needed to sustain our bodies. This is related to human evolution to build up fat stores for periods of fasting necessitated by lack of food sources. Although there is adequate food sources today our bodies don’t quite have the message yet. I’m guessing this is why many people would consider a drug.

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