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Evidence for link between calorie restriction and longevity and better health mounts

Now this is not good news for those that love their food, well what I mean by that is food quantity not quality. Calorie restriction is basically eating less and if you love to eat like a horse, aside from the weight problems this causes for some, the evidence that it speeds up the aging process keeps growing. Scientists have known for a long time that animals such as roundworms and rodents live much longer when their food is rationed. But you can’t always assume that this will translate to humans, although it makes it more likely and it certainly makes sense. Food is a fuel and just like your car the more it burns, the more wear and tear and the more exhausts that are produced.

Science magazine has just published a study titled…Calorie-Counting Monkeys Live Longer. Professor Richard Weindruch and colleagues at the  Wisconsin National Primate Research Center reveal that calorie restriction is indeed successful at improving survival and delaying disease in rhesus macaques, whose average life span is 27 years. “We have been able to show that caloric restriction can slow the aging process in a primate species,” Dr Weindruch announced.

The calorie restricted group of monkeys received 30 percent fewer calories than those on unrestricted diets. After 20 years, 80 percent of the animals given restricted diets are alive, compared to half of the unrestricted animals. Cancer and cardiovascular disease incidence is over 50 percent lower in the calorie restricted animals, and impaired glucose regulation has not been observed. “So far, we’ve seen the complete prevention of diabetes,” Dr Weindruch stated. Additionally, brain volume, motor control, working memory and problem solving abilities appear to be better maintained in the restricted monkeys.

Sterling Johnson, who is a neuroscientist in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health explains… “It’s not a global effect, but the findings are helping us understand if this dietary treatment is having any effect on the loss of neurons in aging. “Both motor speed and mental speed slow down with aging,” Dr Johnson explained. “Those are the areas which we found to be better preserved. We can’t yet make the claim that a difference in diet is associated with functional change because those studies are still ongoing. What we know so far is that there are regional differences in brain mass that appear to be related to diet.”

The current primate study’s results are the best indicator to date that calorie restriction might be one means of allowing humans to live longer in better health.

So what to do? Your stomach takes about 10 minutes to tell your brain that it’s full and has had enough, so don’t eat your food so fast that it’s all over before your stomach knows what’s hit it. This is one of the big problems with fast food, it’s made to be eaten fast as well and the super sizes go down just as quick as standard sizes. When you’re finished it’s good to have that satisfied feeling of having enjoyed your meal but you are still that tiny bit hungry, that’s what you want to aim for. Don’t worry about this at Christmas time or a big celebration, but for the majority of the time this is one the best avenues to good health in old age.

With food, think quality, not quantity. For most of us that’s going to mean more home cooked meals with fresh ingredients.

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