Studies have been done on healthy individuals using 20 percent to 30 percent reduction of calories from previous normal levels. Testing results showed:
● Improved heart function
● Reduced biomarkers of inflammation
● Reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes
● Reduced IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1)
● Reduced COX-2 (cyclooxygenase II)
These last two factors are markers for greater risk of certain types of cancers (breast, prostate, and colon). Two biomarkers for increased longevity were also observed:
● Reduced body temperature
● Reduced fasting plasma insulin
Scientists found that some foods can mimic the metabolic, hormonal and physiological effects of calorie restriction (CR), while not restricting the total calories ingested daily. It is called Calorie Restriction Mimetics (CRM).
In order to qualify as a CRM, the foods must stimulate cellular maintenance and repair processes similar to CR. CRM was used on animals to determine the effect on longevity. A few showed remarkable results in extending normal life cycles.
Resveratrol and pterostilbene have been shown in lab studies to increase lifespans of various test subjects (animals, insects, etc.). Foods rich in resveratrol are:
● Red wine
● Red grapes
● Peanut butter
● Dark chocolate
Foods rich in pterostilbene are:
● Red grapes
Additional CRM studies with good test results include the following foods:
● Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) – celery, parsley, spinach
● Branched-chain amino acids (BRCA) – fish, meat, poultry, dairy, eggs
● Green tea polyphenols – green tea
I caution my readers is that CR is not a diet – not just a reduction in calories. It is a lifestyle. You will be eating less for the remainder of your life. Other lifestyle changes should include:
● Stress management and exercise
● Reduction in toxins
Our bodies respond very favorably with balanced nutrition, exercise, toxin elimination, and stress relief.
Tests were designed for humans with various levels of caloric restriction (30 percent to 12.5 percent) and coupled with, and without exercise. In an older demographic group, the lack of exercise during the testing showed decreases in muscle mass, strength, and aerobic capacity. Additionally, this older group (without exercise) showed more loss of bone mineral density (spine, hip, and femur) compared to the exercise group.
Scientists still do not know exactly why CR improves health and extends our lifespan. Several theories about what transpires have been advanced:
- Reducing oxidative damage
- Increasing cellular repair
- Lowering production of inflammatory cytokines
- Stimulating cellular protection
- Gene activation, etc
Genes are activated when certain thresholds are crossed. It may be that certain genes respond to low-intensity caloric restriction.