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Some Thoughts on Caloric Restriction and Healthy Lifespan

We have an epidemic of obesity; a recent article Life Extension Magazine stated that the obesity numbers in the US are drastically understated – it is worse than the government is telling us. We eat too much, we eat too often and we eat the wrong stuff. There are now enough studies on humans to clearly observe that if caloric intake is cut by about 30% of normal, most of the disabilities of aging (and excess body fat) just go away. Rarely do researchers define for us what “normal” is, however, so the average person has no idea what amount of food that is for them (reduced 30% from what?). I presume by normal they mean a diet that would result in neither weight gain nor weight loss, considering the level of physical activity, in a sort of calories-in = calories-out balance.

I know from my own experience that following the “Leptin Diet” as laid out by Byron Richards of Wellness Resources.com will result in fairly rapid loss of body fat without muscle loss. And along with that comes a reduction in fasting blood sugar, blood pressure, improvement in insulin resistance, better energy regulation (less up-down energy swings) and improvements in inflammation markers such as CRP and NFKB.

My message to my readers is that we can go a long way toward classic caloric restriction by eating only real food, as I lay out in our Nutrition Category, not snacking at all between meals, including soft drinks and juices – just drinking water, and reducing portion size. It is really simple folks – serious disabilities and pain result in later life if we consistently overeat! Almost all of these just don’t happen if we eat modestly, eat with the proper rhythm, and eat only real foods.

Here is the simple truth: if we are gaining body fat with age, WE ARE OVEREATING!!!

Caloric restriction is not the same as severe dieting. We must obtain from what we eat ALL the required nutrients for optimal health, in amounts that meet all metabolic needs, or something will suffer degradation. That means eating a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods, so the restriction in calories will not impact our nutritional status. My contention is that we accomplish most of this by dumping the massive array of non-foods that we are assaulted with daily by the Food Industry, while sticking to foods we evolved with before the advent of ‘food refining’, refrigerators, cans, bottles, boxes, etc.

Caloric restriction with optimal nutrition causes several modifications to metabolism, in addition to leading to a very lean body. The critical change being the expression of genes that lead to longer life, better immune function, lower inflammation (because the immune system is not attacking our own tissues), resulting in far lower disease rates and far less pain involved with getting older, while granting us longer life in the bargain.

Another longevity mechanism enhanced by caloric restriction is autophagy (pronounced awe-Tah-fah-gee, and means self-eating). Autophagy is the process by which a cell cleans up its own internal trash and recycles it for raw materials to keep functioning correctly. When we eat too much the body switches off autophagy, and damaged organelles and membranes and other cellular “junk” accumulate, eventually causing the cell to cease functioning properly. With caloric restriction, autophagy keeps cells humming along far longer. There is now an ‘Autophagy Theory of Aging’, and the primary driver for accelerating this mechanism of aging is overeating. I want my readers to have a good understanding of this aging mechanism, so here is a link to an excellent article by Byron Richards on the topic. This is another key reason why overeating is very deadly practice.

A primary critical key to senior fitness is learning to eat real food, modestly, with 5-6 hours between meals with a 12 hour overnight fast.

Good Living – Frank

Frank Wilhelmi
Frank Wilhelmi

Frank Wilhelmi – Retired/consultant electronic engineer researches and reports practical strategies for optimizing health and fitness into advanced age. “I have a passion for living life to the fullest, and helping others to do the same.” A rapidly growing body of knowledge now enables us to extend our health and fitness decades beyond popular expectations.

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