This was the question I just asked Dr. Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN, because I needed a side bar to his front page article for our upcoming August 2009 newsletter, Communicating Food for Health. He wrote a summary on a new article, Calorie Restriction Slows Aging, published in Science which shows that calorie restriction can have a very positive effect on maximizing life span and slowing the aging and disease process when it is significant enough and sustained. The amount and length of time is what is the tricky part for most people in Westernized societies in my opinion. In this case they found that restricting calories by 20-40% over many years made an increase of 10- 30% for lifespan. He summarizes by saying this can give someone another 10 or 20 youthful years of life in most cases. I was quite shocked when I read that there were as many as three times the number of deaths in the group that could eat as much as they wanted versus the monkeys that were on the calorie-restricted diet. There was also a significant incidence of type 2 diabetes in the unmoderated versus almost none in the calorie-restricted group.
Here is his answer for my question:
How Do I Restrict Calories?
The guidelines for calorie restriction are the same as for weight loss:
• Reduce calorie density by restricting calorie dense foods that contain a lot of refined flour, sugar and fat in your diet; eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, legumes, and cooked whole grains helps lower the calorie density if your diet and it raises fiber and satiety. Think lowfat salad!
• Omit caloric beverages that have cream, fat, sugar and alcohol.
• Bump up fiber per calorie
• Eat only when hungry and don't stuff yourself at meals
A person weighing 180 pounds and consuming 2,400 calories per day, would need to cut calorie intake to 1,680. They'd probably end up weighing about 130 pounds because there would be a modest drop in metabolic rate. In another study that we discussed, a group of Nigerian women weighed 127 compared to 184 for their African-American counterparts who had the same activity level but ate more calories from a high-fat, low-fiber diet. Giving up a modern diet and reverting to more low-calorie-dense, low-fat, and high-fiber foods can help reduce energy intake by 30%. A lot of the African-American women were developing type 2 diabetes. This was not the case with the Nigerian women who were not technically calorie restricted but eating the right foods ad libitum. J.K.
By the way - that gorgeous apple clipart is part of our free nutrition and food clipart gallery - we are in the process of adding at least a dozen clips to each month - July is done and August is coming up soon - we will keep you posted as our artist gets them done.