Eat Less and Live Longer

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Eat Less and Live Longer

A recent 6-month study examined the impact of calorie restriction and weight loss in overweight middle-aged people on several biomarkers previously associated with longevity in people as well as animals. Subjects were randomly assigned to a control group, which maintained their body weight, or to one of 3 experimental groupings illustrated below.

The controls weighed 1% less at the end of 6 months. This study found both lower core body temperature and insulin levels in the two groups losing about 10% of their initial body weight compared to the controls. Insulin levels were also lower in the 3rd experimental group, which lost 13.9% of their initial body weight. All 3 experimental groups also experienced a significant decline in oxidative stress-associated DNA damage, compared to the control group.1

eat less and live longer Eat Less and Live Longer

Bottom Line: This study demonstrates that reducing calorie intake and losing body weight improves insulin sensitivity, lowers body temperature, and reduces DNA damage. While it is still premature to conclude that calorie restriction slows aging in humans, the metabolic changes seen in this study should dramatically cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. It also seems increasingly likely that if these metabolic changes were maintained by consuming fewer calories (with or without more exercise), they may have the added benefit of slowing the aging process as well.

By James J. Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN.

  1. JAMA. 2006;295:1539-48
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