Numerous studies, which began back in 1935, were shown that restricting caloric intake might slow down aging, reduce age related chronic diseases, and extend lifespan.
In fact, calorie restriction is the only regimen shown in a laboratory to extend lifespan.
The studies were conducted using numerous species including rodents and primates (which are close biological relatives of people). They found cutting calorie intake by one third in adulthood increases life expectancy by 10 percent.
While it is uncertain if the same effects apply to humans, preliminary evidence suggests it does. Scientists explain that consuming fewer calories slows the energy production activities in the mitochondria; that way, fewer free-radicals are created. With fewer free radicals, less oxidation and cell damage occur.
The animals on calorie-restricted diets were also shown to have fewer health problems including being overweight, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. The researchers were careful to avoid starving the animals because while protein, carbs, and fats were restricted, the animals were provided with an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals.
It is very important to understand that calorie restriction won’t work if you’re not getting enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary to keep the body functioning properly.
The take home message here should be to ONLY EAT NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS. We don’t need to take such a strict approach to eating to gain many of the health benefits of a calorie-restricted diet.
Since every 3 of 4 Americans are overweight and consuming an estimated average of 3,900 calories a day, simply removing a soda a day, or swapping chips for an apple, or exercising 30 minutes a day, would all prove beneficial to health.
But if you decide to restrict your calories, make sure every calorie you eat comes from a nutrient rich food source.