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April 14th, 2020

Did You Know: Eating Less May Help You Live Longer

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Eat less, live longer? One new study says it’s possible!

 

 

No matter how you spin it, any diet is effective, especially in the short-term *looking at you fad diets*, if it puts you in a caloric deficit. Whether you’re talking about Keto, intermittent fasting or the latest juice cleanse that just popped up on your IG feed, caloric restriction is the missing piece of the puzzle for weight loss. With fewer calories than your body needs, you will inevitably burn excess fat and/or muscle for energy to make up for the deficit. One surprising upside of caloric restriction that’s less frequently talked about is the beneficial effect on cellular aging. Caloric restriction has shown promising success in slowing down the aging process, and let’s be real, we’ll take all the anti-aging help we can get.

THE RESEARCH

Most animal studies looking at the effect of caloric restriction on aging reduced calorie intake by 10-40% from baseline. Interestingly, the benefit was found from caloric restriction, but not from intermittent fasting, in fruit flies. In fact, a 2017 longitudinal study showed increased life spans and decreased incidence of age-related conditions in rhesus monkeys on a calorie-restricted diet, with the experimental group consuming 30% fewer calories than the control group.[i]

While there isn’t enough data to definitively say that humans also experience this benefit, we know from observational studies of those who fast and few small interventional studies that even a modest reduction in calories from baseline can decrease long-term risk for disease. The mechanism is thought to be related to the delay of onset of chronic, age-related conditions such as cancer, diabetes, dementia, and metabolic syndrome.

One new study hoped to identify the beneficial cellular mechanism behind caloric restriction. The study used rats aged 18 months to 27 months (the equivalent to about 50 to 70 years old in human years) and separated them into 2 groups, a 30% caloric restriction group (CR) and a control group. Going further than simply observing development or delay of disease progression, researchers in this study used genetic-sequencing technology to actually monitor the genes themselves. [ii]

What they found was that cells from tissues in the CR group more closely resembled cells from young rats than the control group, though the groups were matched for age. More than half of the age-related cellular changes seen in the control group were not present in the CR mice. Most notably, the researchers found that caloric restriction repressed some of the inflammatory cellular response associated with aging. Cells associated with immunity and fat metabolism were also heavily affected. Through this research, scientists have been able to hone in on specific age-related genes that could show promising anti-aging benefit at the cellular level. [iii]

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

Since calorie reduction without hunger or deprivation (thank you fiber!) is one of the many ways F-Factor helps improve health and manage weight, here’s hoping it has also added a few years to our lives. But for now, we’ll have to keep using our anti-wrinkle creams and rely on regular ol’ hydration to try to turn back the clock.


[i] NIH National Institute on Aging. “Calorie Restriction and Fasting Diets: What Do We Know?” https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/calorie-restriction-and-fasting-diets-what-do-we-know#animal

[ii]Salk Institute. “How caloric restriction prevents negative effects of aging in cells.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200227144259.htm>.

[iii] Shuai Ma, Shuhui Sun, Lingling Geng, Moshi Song, Wei Wang, Yanxia Ye, Qianzhao Ji, Zhiran Zou, Si Wang, Xiaojuan He, Wei Li, Concepcion Rodriguez Esteban, Xiao Long, Guoji Guo, Piu Chan, Qi Zhou, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, Weiqi Zhang, Jing Qu, Guang-Hui Liu. “Caloric Restriction Reprograms the Single-Cell Transcriptional Landscape of Rattus Norvegicus Aging” Cell, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.02.008