Cut Calories to Pause Aging, Study Finds
If you’re in a quest to remain healthy long into your golden years, the solution may be as simple as trimming your daily caloric intake.
New research indicates that reducing daily calories by even just 15% for a two-year span may slow down the metabolic process that leads to aging and causes age-related diseases.
Researchers Uncover How Restricting Calories Can Extend Lifespan
Leanne M. Redman, lead author of the study and an associate professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University, along with colleagues and the National Institute on Aging, designed the CALERIE study (Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy) to determine if restricting calories by 25% would extend life. This is the first randomized controlled trial of calorie restriction in humans, and showed notable results.
Researchers monitored a group of men and woman between ages 25 and 50, two-thirds of whom reduced their calories, while the remaining one-third ate as normal. Although participants did not hit the 25% reduction as anticipated, they did achieve 15%. Those who reduced calories showed two important changes that have been previously observed in similar studies on rodents: lowered metabolic rate and reduced oxidative damage. Redman called results from this lesser calorie restriction “pretty remarkable”
The significant reduction in metabolic rates, as well as 10% reduction in sleeping metabolic rate, leads to an overall decrease in oxidative stress. Oxygen radicals are byproducts of normal metabolism, and can cause damage to body cells and organs over time.This process has been tied to diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related conditions.
Redman claims that all people, regardless of current health status, can benefit from reducing caloric intake. She hopes to reconvene the study participants again to observe if they’re maintaining their reduced caloric intake as well as lowered metabolic rate.
Debbie Swanson is a freelance writer, published in numerous national and local outlets. An avid vegetarian, animal lover and reader, she loves learning about healthy eating and finding natural cures for everyday ailments.