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Calorie Reduction for Longer Life

Article #178 • Written by Cynthia Wood

Dr. Roy Walford
Dr. Roy Walford

Would you be willing to semi-starve in order to live longer? More to the point, would you be willing to semi-starve simply for the chance that you might live longer?

If you’re a member of the Calorie Restriction (CR) Society, the answer to that question is probably yes. Pioneered by the late Dr. Roy Walford, the CR regime (which also has several other names) seeks to extend the human lifespan. Using information garnered from animal studies, and extrapolating the results to humans, the CR Society members are attempting to redefine the natural age-limit for humans. Their primary method for this life extension attempt is to restrict their calorie intake by amounts ranging from a relatively modest 10% to a whopping 65% from a full-fed diet.

As important as the calorie restriction, though, is the nutritional aspect. Advocates of CR are quick to point out that a nutritionally poor diet is likely to shorten life, not extend it. This gives them the sometimes challenging job of trying to fit a full range of nutrients and vitamins into their restricted calorie supply. In the mildly restricted diets, this high nutrition can look like nothing more than a light version of a normal health-conscious diet. In the more highly restrictive regimes this need to cram in as much nutrition as possible becomes more obvious, leading to tightly planned eating where every bite of every day has to carry its dietary weight. In some cases, practitioners may literally eat the same highly nutritious meal every day (or multiple times a day) for years at a time.

So what started all of this voluntary restriction? CR Society members point to a body of research starting with mice, and since extended to rats, dogs, cows, and a number of other animals showing that animals with restricted diets lived longer, healthier lives than those who were free-fed. Not just longer average lives, but truly extended lives, with up to a 40% longer maximum lifespan than the control animals. Studies on rhesus monkeys, though not yet complete, indicate that CR works to extend their lives as well, though less dramatically than for rodents - about 10-20% over the controls. For obvious reasons, these results have not been proven on humans. We cannot expect study results of the effects of CR on humans for many years. Nor are the results on animals universal enough to lead to great confidence in much of the medical community. Under some circumstances, such as late-life or overly rapid introduction of the regime, CR reduces lifespan rather than increasing it. Some of these factors are reasonably well understood, others may not be, meaning that those following a CR diet might be undergoing all this dietary restriction to their detriment.

The next obvious question – what are the results so far? While it’s far too early to tell results on ultimate longevity, the CR members report a number of promising results. A rarity in increasingly heavy America, the CR members are generally thin to very thin, becoming that way slowly over the couple of years it usually takes to fully implement the diet. Their blood chemistry generally improves, with lower total cholesterol, better HDL/LDL ratios, and fewer fluctuations in blood sugar. They also report fewer minor illnesses-- an unexpected result, since the animal studies generally show a lowering of the immune system.

So what’s the downside? Aside from the uncertainty surrounding its ultimate results the biggest obstacle for most Americans is the loss of spontaneity in eating. Many Americans view diets as something done for a short period of time, usually to lose weight. The idea of restricting food intake for life is not particularly attractive. Yet for most CR practitioners, this aspect seems not to be a problem. They report that food tastes better, so that they enjoy food more, even while eating less of it. The weight loss that results from CR can be a problem for some, particularly men. There is also some concern that the very low body-weight may be a problem in and of itself. Chronic cold sensitivity is often reported, presumably due to low body fat. A CR practitioner who contracts a chronic disease may not have the reserves to cope with the heavy demands on their body’s resources. For similar reasons, CR is likely not suitable for growing children, pregnant women, or people whose lives involve heavy exercise. The diet simply doesn’t provide enough caloric energy to sustain the necessary output.

Besides the physical effects, several psychological effects have been hypothesized – including a lowered libido, and a possible increase in obsessive behavior. However, as there are currently no studies on the psychology of CR practitioners, these effects all remain either speculative or anecdotal. There is at least one proposed psychological study of CR practitioners, but as the study hypothesizes a connection between CR, obsessive/compulsive behavior, and eating disorders, the CR community has been understandably suspicious of researcher bias. At least some in the nutrition field seem to regard CR as little more than anorexia with medical sweetening to make it more acceptable.

While the practice of CR is still very controversial, the level of hostility towards its practice seems quite odd. There are hundreds of diets on the market in America, many of them vastly unhealthy, and most intended for no more worthy goal than the loss of a few pounds. CR remains unproven thus far, but ultimately the only way to definitively prove or disprove its effects is to do exactly what the CR Society is currently doing – to give it a try.

Article written by Cynthia Wood, published on 07 May 2006. Cynthia is a contributing editor for DamnInteresting.com.

Article design by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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56 Comments
lahuard
Posted 07 May 2006 at 05:26 pm

Maybe that is why the people who live for so long are the ones who eat little foods, like the Japanese fishermen who live to be 11o years old.


sierra_club_sux
Posted 07 May 2006 at 05:26 pm

So people give the nutrients required for any sort of physical lifestyle to prolong their lives... Are the study subjects quadriplegic?


NuTT98
Posted 07 May 2006 at 05:32 pm

I'm already eating well below average, I have my whole life, so I was already on a CR died and didn't know it... I just need to organize my meals better.

Save cash on groceries and live longer without much change to what I'm already doing, works for me :)


another viewpoint
Posted 07 May 2006 at 06:03 pm

Let's see now...my life expectancy is going to be based on the increased longevity of laboratory animals? ...in particular since the affects on humans haven't been tried. I don't think so!

Someone needs to do their homework before publishing the entire story. Right now, sounds like a lot of speculation.

Don't these scientist know that everything eventually kills laboratory rats? remember sacchrin, cyclamates, etc. One year they'll tell you something is bad for you...the next year, they'll tell you your diet needs it. Heck, add a little fat to your diet and be happy. Life is too short as it is. Eat well...stay fit...die anyway.


ynggrsshppr
Posted 07 May 2006 at 06:32 pm

The star that burns the brightest...


beanaroo
Posted 07 May 2006 at 07:27 pm

another viewpoint said: "Let's see now…my life expectancy is going to be based on the increased longevity of laboratory animals? …in particular since the affects on humans haven't been tried. I don't think so! "

The other problem I see is that lab animals have specifically been bred for lab studies. They have been inbred and bred so that the whole lab population has all the same genetic traits. Humans are not that way and have a wide range of genetic anomalies and other factors. So this diet Might just extend the life of one person by 20 years while it shortens the life of another person by 20. Difference in genes can account for a wide range of variables and problems.

Me I'll just stick to my current life style because I figure I have no real control over how long I actually live anyways.


BarryW
Posted 07 May 2006 at 08:06 pm

another viewpoint said:
Someone needs to do their homework before publishing the entire story. Right now, sounds like a lot of speculation.

Uhhh, the story (as published) is: some people are trying this but they don't know if it will work on humans.

I thought it was an interesting and clearly written article. What exactly was the author supposed to wait for?


mart
Posted 07 May 2006 at 08:23 pm

there are more advantages; you can tie your shoelaces better because you can see them, which is healthier on the long run.


white_matter
Posted 07 May 2006 at 10:30 pm

another viewpoint said: "Let's see now…my life expectancy is going to be based on the increased longevity of laboratory animals? …in particular since the affects on humans haven't been tried. I don't think so!"

Why not? Alot of the medicines we use today were tested on lab animals (penicillin, anti-viral drugs and so on).

Besides, this is just a theory. I think there are some of us (myself included) who could benefit from cutting back on caloric intake.


clayton
Posted 07 May 2006 at 11:31 pm

You don't actually live longer, it just feels like you do.


Prince
Posted 08 May 2006 at 12:48 am

what is the point of living longer if you cant fuck, fight disease, and you'r really bloody cold?


Psyanide
Posted 08 May 2006 at 01:06 am

lahuard said: "Maybe that is why the people who live for so long are the ones who eat little foods, like the Japanese fishermen who live to be 11o years old."

yeah a lot of japanese people from the island of Okinawa have a really long life span due to thier sea food diet


Armani
Posted 08 May 2006 at 02:01 am

I wouldnt wana live past 60...

heck i dont wana live now...cya everyone.

oo better post on PostSecret.blogspot.com so i feel better.


Stuart
Posted 08 May 2006 at 02:42 am

I find it strange that so many people are against this idea. When compared to obesity, which is far more prevalent (its something like 67% of American males, less for Europeans but still bad), this at least has the benefit of saving food and possibly helping to stop people in poor countries starving, and thats even if it turns out that there isn't any major increase in life expectancy. There are suggestions that this CR diet can lessen the strength of the body's immune system (anecdotal evidence) but compare this to the health problems associated with overeating and it seems insignficant. It is believed that obesity will soon overtake smoking as the leading cause of death in the USA so maybe its time for the West to stop eating itself to an early grave. As for the the reduced libido suggestion, I've been very skinny all my life and I'm as horny as anyone I know. Its a good thing.


Marius
Posted 08 May 2006 at 02:59 am

Stuart said: "I find it strange that so many people are against this idea. "

I have noticed something interesting over the last year or so since I became an active participant in the Internet, i.e. blogging and commenting on sites like this one. You could post an article on why oxygen is a really good thing, and someone will rail vehemently against it like it was Satan's own patent. I mean, hell, we even have our very own foul-mouthed pie hater right here. (j/k, Prince, but you are so easy to wind up) I guess it's a good thing, maintaining the diversity of human thought and culture, but sometimes I wonder about all the energy some people dedicate to negativity, especially towards things that really don't affect them.

IMHO, of course. ;-)


Hayley
Posted 08 May 2006 at 06:17 am

I have a theory that the average 2000 calorie diet was made at a time when people were more active in general and, thus, needed more caloric intake. These days, however, most people are not so. Does it seem so bad to tailor your diet to your lifestyle? These people are not starving themselves (mostly) but instead only taking in what they need. Social eating has become too much of a phenomenon in our society; people eat when they're bored or with friends, not when they need food. I generally eat only when I need to, but this doesn't mean I'm starving myself. It just means I'm more attuned to what my body requires. I think this diet is not only healthy to a certain extent, but sensible.

As for saving starving people in poorer nations, I don't really think it would affect them. Our country alone already makes enough food per year to have everyone in the world gain a pound over the next year, but the problem is getting it there. Our eating less won't help them, and poverty stricken people obviously aren't getting enough of the right kinds of food. Many of them have plenty of food, but it's food with no nutritional value. Educating them on this topic will simply make them aware that what they're eating is not healthy, though they often cannot afford anything else.


schuylercat
Posted 08 May 2006 at 06:32 am

Floj cannot do this! No pie? Horror! Maybe really really low-calorie pie.

I have the worst eating habits of anyone I know - I put on 60 pounds after I quit smoking and I eat everything in sight (the classic "see-food" diet...). Given my blood pressure lately, this can't be a bad idea for me. Funny - I quit smoking in an attempt to avoid cancer, and now I'm a candidate for congestive heart failure. Well, not FUNNY-funny, but...you know.

And one question lingers: the article mentions cows as research animals. Cows don't digest like we do - they ruminate and compost their food. Would this matter, I wonder? I mean low calorie is low calorie, but the digestive process must play SOME role...


another viewpoint
Posted 08 May 2006 at 06:49 am

My original comment, "Someone needs to do their homework before publishing the entire story." was not directed towards the author of this DI article...it was, however, directed towards CR concept scientists that would be so brazen to publish a theory without first proving it or having any kind of meaningful data with regards to impact on humans. That would be equivalent to saying you have a theory about engine lubricants that will not require replacement during the entire life of the car. Unless you have proof and have hard numbers to substantiate your claim, it is best to say nothing. Don't raise false hopes.

As for Stuart's comments...it is a noble gesture to stop world hunger. Good for you. Too bad this battle has been going on for over 40 years...probably longer and it will continue to do so. As Sam Kinison once said (jokingly) about the starving people in Africa, "...don't send starving people food... send them U-Hauls. See this...it's sand. You can't grow anything in sand. It was sand 1000 years ago and will still be sand 1000 years from now. Move to where the food is located!" (expletives deleted as applicable).

The problem is made worse, when you see the food that is thrown away in the US. Some grocery stores in the US are required to throw away foods that are still good, buy just past their expiration sale date...for fear that someone will get sick and file suit...and it is an incredible amount of food that gets trashed. Look also at the wasted food tossed out of restaurants that serve patrons 1.5x to 2x the amount of food that any one person can consume (okay, sometimes you get to take the leftovers home, but not always). In some cases, obesity is a result of what your mother told...eat everything on your plate...there are starving people in the world. NO...you eat until you're full and that's usually enough. Still, we are a wasteful society.

You can eat anything you want...as long as it's in moderation. A six pack and a hot dog does not make a 7 course meal. A whipped cream cake and a salad is not a balanced meal. It still comes down to that old adage...do you live to eat or do you eat to live? That IS the question!


DrMindHacker
Posted 08 May 2006 at 07:06 am

This diet is also very similar to "The Warrior's Diet" (which is based on the ancient Roman diet of only eating one meal a day (usually large) and only a few nuts/berrries/fruits during the day). It is based on
the idea that you allow your body to focus only on metabolizing during the day and then you eat a large
meal at night.
I have personally been practicing this diet method for about 7 years now. Although I am fairly s ensitive
to cold (I attribute this more to poor circulation due to smoking 15 years) I find that I am far more energetic, alert, hardly ever sick, and feel good in general. I also workout everyday (on top of my 3 mile
round trip walk to work) and don't ever feel like I am not getting enough food (I consume roughly 2000
calories per day - albeit our metabolic system isn't a simple input/output system).
As far as testing on animals - mammals all have the same *basic* metabolic system so the tests are
pretty accurate. Really, the only variable factor is *what* is consumed that will make the difference
in results.


damn
Posted 08 May 2006 at 07:13 am

A recent research shows that Calories is not the most imporatant lifespan factor in nutrition. At least on fruit flys. More: Calories and lifespan


thecontrary
Posted 08 May 2006 at 07:17 am

I find it hard to believe that no one has yet to point out this:

Average Currrent Life Expectancy in the U.S. >> 77 years old
Age of Dr. Roy Walford when he died >> 80 years old

hmm, pardon my skepticism but I think I'll stick to a moderate diet of healthy foods and a regular excercise routine. I don't think his extra 3 years speaks very strongly of the efficacy of his own research...


mensadave
Posted 08 May 2006 at 07:20 am

By eradicating diseases, medical science has already increased the average lifespan (for Americans) in this decade by a good 30-40 years, and recent advances in genetic engineering may prove similarly fruitful, so why go through all the hassle? I also question the restricted diet-- eating a great variety of foods has definite health benefits (e.g., fighting cancer). On a less serious note, does this mean Breathetarians (sp?) will live forever?


apology
Posted 08 May 2006 at 07:41 am

Personally I don't think the key is in eliminating everything that's tasty and quantity as well, but rather having science develop way to manufacture products that have less of a health impact on the body than the ones we currently use which are obviously reducing our lifespans dramatically.


Cynthia Wood
Posted 08 May 2006 at 07:51 am

I wondered when someone was going to notice the "late Dr. Roy Walford". He died of ALS, rather than any of the standard age-related diseases, so his age at demise is likely not indicative. It does, however, serve to point out that lifespan benefits are always average over a group. Any one person can get hit by a bus tomorrow regardless of how healthy their lifestyle.


alias
Posted 08 May 2006 at 08:06 am

If you don't get to eat fatty high calorie foods it takes all the fun out of living longer and makes this whole excercise completely useless.


Stuart
Posted 08 May 2006 at 08:09 am

Sorry my comments about us eating less to solve world hunger came across as very naive and impractical to implement. I wasn't literally meaning that all the food that would not be consumed, if everyone took up a CR diet, should be put into tupperware containers and mailed to poorer countries. Rather I was just speculating that money saved on feeding the greed of western populations could be used for charitable purposes. Ofcourse it wouldn't: people would just have a larger wardrobe/dvd/record collection.

What hayley says could be true aswell. Theres no way that a man who drives to work and spends all day behind a desk is using as many calories as a man who cycles to work and then spends all day doing heavy labour on a construction site. You should be able to go to your doctor (or whoever) and tell him what you do and he'll see how tall you are and then gauge how much you should eat a day to stay healthy without getting fat.


aoeu
Posted 08 May 2006 at 09:18 am

There's an automatic system determining how much you need to eat based on your level of activity. It's called "hunger". Strange, isn't it?


sierra_club_sux
Posted 08 May 2006 at 09:26 am

Stuart said: "...You should be able to go to your doctor (or whoever) and tell him what you do and he'll see how tall you are and then gauge how much you should eat a day to stay healthy without getting fat."

Should you really need a doctor for this? Why do people have such a hard time identifying themselves as overweight and adjusting their diet accordingly? Is it denial or what?


another viewpoint
Posted 08 May 2006 at 09:42 am

Cynthia Wood said: "...Any one person can get hit by a bus tomorrow regardless of how healthy their lifestyle."

I used to hear this at work many years ago...what happens if/when a person, critical for project or company performance gets hit by a bus?

Obvious solution...everyone start writing your state Senators and Representatives...we have got to outlaw those wayward buses so we can preserve our precious lives and extend our longevity!!!! (sorry Cynthia...I couldn't resist).


thecontrary
Posted 08 May 2006 at 10:22 am

You should be able to go to your doctor (or whoever) and tell him what you do and he'll see how tall you are and then gauge how much you should eat a day to stay healthy without getting fat.

Or you can use a little highschool algebra and save yourself a 45-minute wait in the doctor's office
here.


kindall
Posted 08 May 2006 at 10:48 am

aoeu said: "There's an automatic system determining how much you need to eat based on your level of activity. It's called 'hunger'. Strange, isn't it?"

If that was actually true, everyone would be skinny, including me. If I eat the wrong foods, I am basically constantly hungry regardless of how much I eat. You can only ignore hunger for so long; it is a strong biological signal. Unfortunately, I know from experience that stopping eating the foods that cause this reaction can be devilishly difficult because they taste so, so good.


neepster
Posted 08 May 2006 at 12:20 pm

Well, it didn't seem to help Walford much... he died of Lou Gehrig's disease at 79... Pretty sure that a life spent starving myself would not be one I'd want to "prolong"....


Jake Brake
Posted 08 May 2006 at 12:29 pm

The real issue here is: why are we (especially in America) so obsessed with increasing our lifespan? Most of the big problems facing the human race can be directly attributed to population pressure, and as noted by a post above, we've already increased our lifespan considerably through other factors. People living longer is the last thing we as a species, or our host organism, needs.

It would be nice to see more focus on improving the quality of life rather than the quantity of life. Personally, I believe it is better for both myself and the people around me if I focus on doing things that I enjoy - like eating a tasty and varied diet - and being happier as a result, instead of forcing myself to follow some weirdly rigid regimen of debatable value.


dbaseii
Posted 08 May 2006 at 02:10 pm

Everyone is missing the point on this one. There HAS BEEN NO REAL EVIDENCE that calorie restriction prolongs life. In the rat studies, they did NOT have normal conditions. The rats in the control group were allowed all the food they wanted which is NOT how it is in nature... rats have to CATCH their food and burn a lot of calories and that alone restricts them. So in the landmark study where the restricted rats lived longer, it only proved (as several scientists commented later) that underfed rats live longer than overfed, under exercised rats. But then, we knew that already. Those results have NEVER been repeat, stated an article in "The Smithsonian". The later calorie restriction rat studies found that not only DIDN'T the underfed rats LIVE longer, they got sick faster than the better fed rats. Those proponents of calorie restriction are only proving one thing (IF in fact they live longer). That they can get away with abusing their bodies. But then I know an 80 year old smoker in perfect health. That doesn't mean I would recommend smoking as a healthy habit. It's a no brainer that if you don't get enough nutrition it will hurt your body. Many people with Alzheimers are slim and poor eaters. Yes they are living but I'd druther be fat with a better working brain. A study reported on by SHAPE magazine which is very fat phobic, stated that when tested, dieters scored lower in cognitive skills than non dieters. Studies from the food institute of the UK suggest that calorie restriction over a longer period can cause PERMANENT brain damage. And finally, at the turn of the 20th century i.e. 1900, EVERY calorie restricted because food was not that available. Obesity wasn't a problem at all back then. Neither was longevity - the average lifespan of these slim folks was 45! Today even with 65 percent of us being fat, the average lifespan is 78 years.

We always hear about the "obesity epidemic" but obesity related diseases, says the CDC only kills 110,000 a year and the link "may be weak" they say. Cancer on the other hand, which by the way is, according to the American cancer society, 85 percent lifestyle caused, kills 557,500 a year. Seems that's much more of an epidemic than obesity so why don't we hear more about the cancer epidemic?

This calorie restriction nonsence is all about looks. It's a no brainer that if we do not eat enough, we will not do our bodies any good.


dbaseii
Posted 08 May 2006 at 02:16 pm

I did some research on this a while ago. First of all, many weight watchers practice this consuming anywhere from 1000 - 1200 calories a day to stay at goal weight. Secondly, this is also how models stay slim (they really eat about 500 calories a day).

Hitler's Nazis found out in the concentration camps that people can survive on relatively a small amount of food each day. They fed prisoners about 500 calories a day. One scientist in following up on concentration camp survivors found that about 99 percent of them were very obese now and he chalked it up to permanent metabolic damage.

If you eat 1200 calories a day, your body will set your metabolism down to about 1400 calories a day and leech the missing vitamins and calcium from your body including the liver (source of iron), your bones etc.

There is no doubt that calorie restriction will keep you slim which today is considered the "Holy Grail". But there is no scientific evidence that calorie restriction is any kind of healthy either. The CDC has apparently named sudden heart attack at a growing and alarming incidence. This is apparently caused by electrical imbalance and may well be caused by starvation or semi starvation which is what the scientists call "calorie restriction". For instance, this type of heart attack is common among anorexics - does that tell us anything?

The doubt lies in a the area of whether this will really increase lifespan.

First of all, very fat people, despite being considered high risk, appear to take surgery as invasive as gastric bypass rather well considering. This is likely because they ARE very well nourished.

Second, there is no research showing the obesity alone shortens life but rather it is the lifestyle habits which seem to determine, somewhat - longevity. For instance we have observed cases where individuals have weighed as much as 750 lbs (like Manny Yarborough the sumo wrestler for instance) and have been healthy.

There was one study which showed that calorie restricted rats lived longer. No one has been able to repeat the results of this study. The original study had some flaws. Those rats not calorie restricted were allowed all the food they wanted. This is not like nature where it costs a lot of calories for a rat to catch their food and then, food is NOT always available. Scientists trying to emulate nature a bit more accurately found that under fed rats not only didn't live longer but were more likely to get sick than properly fed rats.

The first study might have only showed that under fed rats lived longer than over fed/under exercised rats. that's a no brainer but also, no evidence that calorie restriction is healthy.

Science tells us that we need over 200 mg carbs daily in order for proper brain function. Atkins dieters get 30 and Protein Power dieters get 60.

Harsh reality is that we require 1600 or more calories in order to get in all the nutriants we need on a daily basis. Less than that and you are undermining your body especially FOR the long term. Of course, Americans are obscessed on the idea that thin is healthy, despite the scientific evidence to the contrary.

Many folks of the CR group is only in their 40's. They may likely find a rude awakening as they age and the body becomes deplete of stored nutrients. Osteoporosis comes from a calcium shortage and cannot be supplemented. It's also pretty much a silent disease wrote an orthopedic doc for "Internal Medicine Review" last year. "Many of my patients find out they have it when they start breaking bones," wrote the doc who warned that bone scans only show a small area of bone and therefore are not accurate.

The Matrix world again... Our virtual reality and reality are often so different.


dbaseii
Posted 08 May 2006 at 02:21 pm

Cynthia Wood said: "I wondered when someone was going to notice the "late Dr. Roy Walford". He died of ALS, rather than any of the standard age-related diseases, so his age at demise is likely not indicative. It does, however, serve to point out that lifespan benefits are always average over a group. Any one person can get hit by a bus tomorrow regardless of how healthy their lifestyle."

That's even worse than had Walford died of "old age". The ALS could have been caused or enhanced by calorie restriction and lack of nutrition. Our bodies run about as well on starvation as cars run with no gasoline. "feeling good" means nothing. In Ketosis, we feel great while our bodies are being destroyed. One doctor in following those who claimed a healing at a famous evangelist's meetings, found that even though people threw away crutches etc and "felt good" many returned home to become sicker or even die and NONE were truly healed.


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 08 May 2006 at 04:54 pm

Stuart said: It is believed that obesity will soon overtake smoking as the leading cause of death in the USA so maybe its time for the West to stop eating itself to an early grave. As for the the reduced libido suggestion, I've been very skinny all my life and I'm as horny as anyone I know. Its a good thing."

I'm with you all the way Stuart...these fat ass lazy Americans make me mad. And I'm from Indiana, we have the highest number of fatties and the highest health insurance premiums per capita in the US.

I am also a slender, horny horny woman. And cold all the time. Hot, Cold, Hot, Cold....

Look folks, Dr Atkins died extremely obese of heart disease. Don't watch your carbs, only keep yourself in healthy shape, watch your step when you walk outside next time. Most everyone in here is right; live it to the fullest, you might get hit by a truck when you step outside tomorrow.


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 08 May 2006 at 05:07 pm

Oh and I feel like I should add, I am a very petite person as previously mentioned. On average I will eat about 1400 calories a day (and take vitamins), but only because my body does not allow me to take in more than that. I love food, but can't handle much of it at once, and have been known to get sick just by eating what most Americans would call a regular sized meal. My stomach can't tolerate gluttony! For some us the metabolic factor along with natural digestive tendencies just can't eat what other people can, and so make me look like I eat "like a bird". Which is a false statement because birds eat twice their weight in food every day.

Point being, skinny people can have just as rough of a time as chubbies!


Dr. Bob
Posted 08 May 2006 at 06:49 pm

That those who severely restrict calories are obsessive is a no brainer. Only someone who is obsessed (or anorexic) would be able to maintain the focus needed.

As far as developing a theory from animal research is concerned, it is quite common. A theory is a theory! It doen't qualify as fact unless it is proven. The fact that it has been shown in several species adds credibility but does not prove it will work in humans. All new medicines are tested in animals (except "alternative" medicines which are rarely tested at all). Only after testing does the theory that a particular medicine will work in humans result in approval for marketing.


Blobbster
Posted 08 May 2006 at 11:01 pm

you know, id rather not live longer... we are over poulating the world already! we wiill be our own demise in the end. anyway, i think the reason 67% of americans are fat is becuz of our hamburgres... i just had a flashback of wen i overherd some gguards talking in splinter cell and they said: you know, even though we have better resources, better tactics, a and a better army then the amreicans... better everything... the one thing cant beat is there hamburgers ;-)


Prince
Posted 08 May 2006 at 11:27 pm

very picky of me to point out i know, but i am somewhat of an authority on Romans and

DrMindHacker said: "This diet is also very similar to "The Warrior's Diet" (which is based on the ancient Roman diet of only eating one meal a day (usually large) and only a few nuts/berrries/fruits during the day). It is based on
the idea that you allow your body to focus only on metabolizing during the day and then you eat a large
meal at night.
."

thats absolute crap, who on earth told you the Romans ate only one meal per day? if you can remember, slap them for me


Stuart
Posted 09 May 2006 at 01:55 am

aoeu said: "There's an automatic system determining how much you need to eat based on your level of activity. It's called "hunger". Strange, isn't it?"

Our bodies systems for determining when we should do certain activities are not all that reliable. For instance I heard that if people in a hot climate only ever drank when they felt thirsty they would become dehydrated (in these conditions thirst is only experienced when the body is about >5% dehydrated). And its obvious that people can easily ignore their bodily impulses sometimes with good results (stops us shitting ourselves on the bus) and sometimes with bad (hence the disgusting amount of fat people).

In my opinion, obesity is not gonna go away while it as seen as socially acceptable to eat excessively. Smoking and drinking a lot are generally frowned upon by society and people who smoke/drink themselves to illness are seen as having brought it on themselves. With obesity, it is still politically incorrect to criticise someone for being basically greedy and lacking self control. Even doctors cannot tell a patient that they are too fat and thats why they are sick.

I know different people have varying metabolic rates and that for some people, including myself, putting on weight is never a problem (although I don't eat a great deal and don't have a car so walk many miles a day) but to blame your body for your weight problem is ridiculous. Ok you may have bad 'glands' (whatever that means) but the fact is glands don't secrete calories. Calories go in, if you don't burn enough of them up you put on weight. If your body has a slow metabolic rate put down the pie and chips.


schuylercat
Posted 09 May 2006 at 08:26 am

schuylercat
Posted 09 May 2006 at 08:46 am

sierra_club_sux said: "Should you really need a doctor for this? Why do people have such a hard time identifying themselves as overweight and adjusting their diet accordingly? Is it denial or what?"

And MY answer is...HELL YES!!! I am fully aware that I eat too much, although I have removed almost all meat from my diet (fish is still there - they call it "pesco-vegetarianism" or whatever). I can't tell if I'm lazy, crazy, or what. Truth is, I'm "overweight" - 190 to 195 at 5'11". I'm not "obese". Yet. Buuuut...the weight just goes up...a little here...a little there...

I suffer from that "I'll go to the gym when it gets bad" syndrome - and at my age (if I actually do it) I'll die of a heart attack first day. It's...odd. Quit smoking, pick up a knife and fork. And while I know what to do and how to do it...I...just...don't.

I have known obese people. Watching a friend eat three big roast beef sandwiches then later tell his wife he had a "light lunch, maybe some salad" was an eye opener. There but for the grace of God go I...

And I had a conversation with him once and ONLY once: I said something like "you eat everything that you can fit in your mouth." I was rewarded with a dissertation on how hard it was, how "normal, skinny people" like me don't understand. How he eats less than I do, but just gains weight (see above paragraph). How people with drinking problems and smokers have it easy: you don't HAVE to drink alcohol or smoke...but you gotta eat. In the end I think I realized that this guy - smart, educated, ambitious - was just as prone to denial as, say, me.

I just remember what George Carlin (I think?) said years ago about people with a weight problem: "Just remember," he said, "that THIS hole..." pointing to his mouth... "is MUCH bigger than THIS hole..." Pointing to his ass.


Nastimann
Posted 09 May 2006 at 09:13 pm

Stuart said: "I find it strange that so many people are against this idea. When compared to obesity, which is far more prevalent (its something like 67% of American males, less for Europeans but still bad), this at least has the benefit of saving food and possibly helping to stop people in poor countries starving, and thats even if it turns out that there isn't any major increase in life expectancy. There are suggestions that this CR diet can lessen the strength of the body's immune system (anecdotal evidence) but compare this to the health problems associated with overeating and it seems insignficant. It is believed that obesity will soon overtake smoking as the leading cause of death in the USA so maybe its time for the West to stop eating itself to an early grave. As for the the reduced libido suggestion, I've been very skinny all my life and I'm as horny as anyone I know. Its a good thing."

I think people are against this idea because it is inconvenient, impractical, uninteresting and unpleasant. People enjoy eating. They do not enjoy starving, especially when it means extra effort and expense -- even if it does extend your life, and do all those other good things you mentioned.


Spike
Posted 10 May 2006 at 08:08 am

Why would anyone want to follow a diet that forced you to focus so much time and attention on your diet? Life should be lived and enjoyed.


HunterKiller_
Posted 11 May 2006 at 02:25 am

All these modern dieting techniques are crap. This one is the worst yet. As others have mentioned, life is to be enjoyed, what is the point of living longer if you have to spend it starving yourself of the foods you love?


C.
Posted 11 May 2006 at 01:50 pm

I am really suprised no one has pointed this out before. Caloric Restriction has been a part of traditional Okinawan lifestyle for over 1000 years! They even have a name for it "Hara Hachi Bu" or eat until you are 80 percent full.

Okinawans have the highest centerian rate (people 100 yrs old or older).
Okinawans are the longest living verifiable humans in the world. How it is verifiable.
" In Okinawa, every city, town, and village has a family register system (koseki) that has been recording reliable birth, marriage, and death statistics since 1879 "

There have been two books written by the three doctors conducting the Study (28 yrs long and still going!)
"The Okinawa Program"
"The Okinawa Diet Plan"

Hara Hachi Bu (Eating till one is 80 % full) is considered one of the key components for the Okinawan's longevity, but certainly not the only reason. Other key factors,
1. what they eat (about 70% vegetables, 15 % protein mostly in the form of fish and tofu and pork, 15 % fat mostly healthy monosaturated.
2. Their life style - the people stay active - they have a form of dance similar to Tai Chi that is practiced daily, they have close relationships (with other people).

Key study findings: 60% of how long we live is up to us. Due to lifestyle changes and diet.

28 year (still going) long study conducted by:
Makoto Suzuki MD PhD is a cardiologist and geriatrician. He is Professor Emeritus and former Director of the Department of Community Medicine at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan.
Bradley Willcox MD, MS is a Physician-Investigator in Geriatrics at the Pacific Health Research Institute, Honolulu, and a Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Geriatrics, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii.
Dr. Craig Willcox, Ph.D. is a medical anthropologist and gerontologist and internationally recognized expert in healthy aging and cross-cultural gerontology.


shorty
Posted 11 May 2006 at 02:59 pm

i happen to be in a position where i work with elderly veterans, most with pain. the Marines i know, are very disciplined individuals. eating very little is one of the standard behaviors that i see, when a person manages their condition well. it is less taxing on the human body, to have to process less food. instead of thinking of their diet on a "daily" basis, they address it in more of a weekly or biweekly time frame. and at times, when they feel malnurished, they KNOW what it is that they require. a week with more yogurt, or grains, every once in a while, a big juicy hamburger. when you maintain that type of habit, cravings tell you exactly what it is you require. that's a very smart way to acquire nutrition. also, i know no combat veteran who "enjoys" eating. they've been around too much gore to enjoy it any more, and i think this is sort of a key factor in their dietary discipline. they are not missing out on any enjoyment by eating less.


hypersloth
Posted 12 May 2006 at 03:36 am

Anyone remember 92 Degrees by Siouxsie and the Banshees?

"Did you know that more murders are committed at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once... At lower temperatures, people are easy-going. Over 92 it's too hot to move. But at just 92, people get irritable!"


hypersloth
Posted 12 May 2006 at 05:22 am

Argh, wrong thread!!1!one!


systmh
Posted 17 May 2006 at 04:22 pm

Interesting article... it would be nice though if those scientists would get to work on figuring out how to live more satisfying lives instead of merely longer ones. few people measure the worth of a life simply in years... yet we shaved monkeys have an enormous facination with living forever. i guess that's darwinian instinct.


smokefoot
Posted 25 July 2006 at 10:41 am

Calorie restriction has been tried with dozens of different species, not just lab animals. So far it has worked on almost all of them. The results from the monkeys implies that it will probably work for humans. One of the key parts of this diet is to make sure you are getting enough nutrients in the smaller amount of calories, so there is no problem with shortages of iron/calcium as an earlier poster posited.


Alx_xlA
Posted 04 December 2007 at 10:19 pm

1. When drugs are tested, it is mostly testing the effect on the disease itself, and the overall effect on the bodily systems. Testing diets isn't like that.

2. The best system would be just to eat exactly what your body needs.


brentus
Posted 20 February 2008 at 10:57 am

C. is correct, all you people saying there is no evidence have a look there.

There IS more to life than food you know, I like food as much as the next man but I'd rather miss out on a few cream cakes and be able to go surfing, climbing, hiking, mountain biking, travelling and all the other things i enjoy for an extra 20 years, seems like a good trade to me. If your only interests out of work, tv and sleeping is food, then fill yer boots (excuse the pun)


10kluke
Posted 03 April 2009 at 11:31 pm

The reasons not to do this aren't that solid...

1. Hunger pains are often actually caused by carb cravings and thirst; hunger without these distractions can have pleasant side effects, thanks to natural antidepressant hormones that kick in to compensate. Eating less also attunes your brain to the taste of food more strongly, so you can enjoy it more when you do eat it. Furthermore, according to anecdotal reports, while men on CR do not have as high of a degree of sexual impulsiveness, their performance in this area is actually boosted, whereas women on the diet tend to actually want more sex. It is an overall positive effect for couples, evening out their levels of desire while enhancing their ability to fulfill them.

2. Population problems are caused by uncontrolled reproduction, not longevity. Even indefinite lifespans would not present a big problem in this regard, provided everyone remained healthy and robust for their entire lives. When people have the ability to live longer, they are more likely to delay or decide against reproducing, so the population would grow more slowly, giving technology a chance to catch up enough to let humans leave a zero or negative ecological footprint. More importantly, experiences would not be lost with every death, and so we would have more expert-level thinkers with more knowledge, wisdom, and a long-term perspective.

3. Even if it *were* a relatively unpleasant life to spend on CR (and by all reports it is not), having a fighting chance at living a few years longer could still be well worth it, as it would mean the chance at surviving long enough for science to figure out how to pause or reverse the aging process -- leading to an indefinite lifespan in which you could eat whatever the heck you want.

4. People confuse CR with dieting for weight loss (which is what anorexia is) -- but it has nothing to do with it. CR is all about getting your body to last longer, not making it look better. CR is about getting optimal nutrition, often better than the average person, with solely the calorie content being reduced. Other than that it's a normal super-healthy diet. Another thing is that CR must be gradually phased into over the course of two years or so -- not at all like the typical western approach to "going on a diet".

5. Focusing on curing cancer rather than curing aging is the dumbest move ever -- yet the one politicians seem bent on putting the funding into. Not that I'm against curing cancer, but the fact is that most cancer is caused by aging. So is most diabetes... So is most Alzheimers... And so is most death, for that matter. Why not focus on getting a cure senescence (aging) itself rather than the diseases it causes?


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