Calorie Restriction Can Increase Life Expectancy

A recently published study has shown that a slight reduction in daily caloric intake, approximately 15%, can have beneficial effects on one’s lifespan and health.

This study was conducted in healthy, non-obese adults, over a 2-year time frame. While those not undergoing caloric restriction gained 1.8 kg of body weight, the reduced calorie group lost on average 8.7 kg. Energy expenditure was lower than expected than only based on the weight loss, and oxidative stress markers were also lower; both parameters support the current theories of human aging. Other health improvements included lower blood sugar and insulin levels, lower body temperature and lower metabolic-regulating hormones; all which are related to living longer.

Caloric restriction as a method of increasing longevity has been previously proven in animals, but this is the first study to be performed in humans. It is important to note that caloric restriction is not the same as fasting; it’s not about skipping meals, but eating smaller portions, while ensuring to take all the necessary nutrients.

In previous posts I’ve commented on how the prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically worldwide (The Burden of Excess Weight in the World), and how the body fights back when you go on a diet (Why does What Comes Down must Always Go Up?). In this sense, caloric restriction in this study was not used as a method to lose weight, but rather to improve your health and live longer. As the researchers stated: “The goal is not to lose weight, but to maintain this sustained lower intake.” Consider the weight loss as an added benefit.

There are still some ways to go to completely understand this phenomenon, but studies like these demonstrate that with food, like in many other circumstances, quality is more important than quantity.

Jonathan Jones, PhD

Product Development Manager

Reference: Cell Metabolism