Eating less food with balanced nutrition is critical for longer, healthier life.

Most of us eat by habit. We have breakfast, usually foods associated with the first meal of the day. The term breakfast means to stop fasting from the night before and resume eating.

Our culture believes breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Is it? Is it essential to eat as soon as we arise from sleeping? Eastern culture tells us that breakfast is not that important – eat it if you wish, but you can skip it also. Western culture tells us that we must start with eating first thing in the morning.

Why? In theory, to replenish the body with an energy source. We start the day fully charged to do battle with the vagaries of the work world.

Caloric Restriction (CR) and Longevity Caloric restriction means to eat less than you usually do every day. Eating less does not mean depriving yourself of the required nutrients for good health.

For years, nutritionists have told us that we should eat 15 calories per day per pound of body weight to maintain that weight. A 200-lb-man should consume 2,250 calories to support 200 pounds. Total calories and body weight are not markers for health.

Balanced nutrition provides for the needs of a healthy body. Good health means doing the same thing, eating foods providing balanced nutrition with the fewest calories.

Caloric restriction is not a diet but a lifestyle. Louis Caranaro wrote ‘La Vita Sobria‘ (The Temperate Life) in the 16th century. The book is sometimes titled, How to Live 100 Years. Note that he lived to 102 years of age.

Caranaro wrote an anti-aging book espousing eating only the minimum food needed to stay alive. The book has four sections. He completed each section when he was 83, 86, 91, and 95 years of age, respectively.

Louis Caranaro lived a reckless life. He was dying when he entered his 40s. He developed a CR lifestyle and lived it for another 60 years of his life.

Benjamin Franklin was an advocate of food abstinence to live a healthier and longer life. Benjamin Franklin was eighty-five years old when he passed away. He is known for saying, “The best medicines are rest and fasting.” We see pictures of Benjamin Franklin portraying him a bit on the ‘heavy’ side. He was lean and fit into his 60s.

He advised his peers to pay attention to their weight. When you are overweight, eat less. When you are underweight, eat more. If you are in good health, continue doing what you were doing. He lived 30-40 years past the expected age of his time.

Caloric Restriction and Animals A 40% increase in lifespan was demonstrated with experiments on rats in the 1930s. The rats ate at levels just above the state of malnutrition.

Since then, additional studies with animals and humans have similar results. Over the past seventy-five years, testing has shown great success in healthy life extension.

Rhesus monkeys on a CR regimen had significant health improvements. Testing involved one group of monkeys fed a regular diet, and another group fed 30 percent fewer calories. The non-CR monkeys died more often of age-related diseases (37 percent to 13 percent).

The CR monkeys appeared younger and had a lower body and fat mass than their counterparts. The CR groups were generally free of diabetes and glucose intolerance and had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Humans and Aging Medical scientists use biomarkers to assess the normal biological process as we grow older. The rhesus monkey lifespan can be measured well within the expected lifespan of humans. How does this translate to humans? More testing is needed to evaluate CR fully.

Biomarkers compare states of aging. Body temperature and fasting insulin levels are useful biomarkers for aging. As you age, you begin to make fewer types of chemicals in your body. Health declines as we age because our bodies cannot make the required vitamins, enzymes, and amino acids needed for wholesome health in our later years.

As people age, there is a decline in several physiological functions, such as hormone levels, electrolyte regulation, and lean body mass. Additionally, strength, digestive potency, and cognitive ability decline.

Okinawa has forty times the number of people living over one hundred years of age than any other area in Japan. Okinawa has a lower daily caloric intake. They eat 20 percent to 40 percent less compared to their Japanese counterparts.

Studies have been done on healthy individuals using a 20 percent to 30 percent reduction of calories from previous normal levels. Testing results showed improved heart function, reduced inflammation markers, and decreased risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

These last two factors are markers for a greater risk of certain cancers (breast, prostate, and colon). The two biomarkers, lower body temperature, and reduced fasting plasma insulin were observed in these studies.

Fooling the Body – Mimicking Fasting means that we eat less. Scientists found that some foods can mimic the metabolic, hormonal, and physiological effects of CR while not restricting the total calories ingested daily. It is called Calorie Restriction Mimetics (CRM).

CRM foods must stimulate cellular maintenance and repair processes. CRM is used on animals to determine the effect on longevity.

The age of various test subjects (animals, insects, etc.) increase with resveratrol and pterostilbene. Foods rich in resveratrol are blueberries, red wine, red grapes, peanut butter, and dark chocolate. Foods rich in pterostilbene are blueberries and red grapes.

Additional CRM studies with good test results with other nutritional compounds include pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) – celery, parsley, spinach, branched-chain amino acids – fish, meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, and green tea polyphenols – green tea.

I caution my readers that CR is not a diet – not just a reduction in calories. It is a lifestyle. Other lifestyle changes should include exercise, reduction in toxins, and stress management.

Scientists still do not know precisely why CR improves health and extends our lifespan. Several theories about what transpires have been advanced. Some prevalent thoughts are reducing oxidative damage, increasing cellular repair, and lowering inflammatory cytokine production from eating fewer calories.


Eating less is an option. Eating the right foods that provide balanced nutrition is a better option. As always, when under medical care, seek the advice of your physician before undertaking a lifestyle change.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –


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