I remember sitting there utterly engrossed and perplexed at the simplicity of this intervention, I even questioned the point of the degree considering the simplicity of this life-changing practice.
This simple dietary practice my lecturer was speaking of could be done without a single Dietetic qualification, without one ‘client success testimonial’ to my name. And since then, behold the journal Cell Metabolism states, all you ACTUALLY have to do is reduce your calorie intake.
Seeing as calorie restriction lowers core body temperature and resting metabolic rate, and considering larger mammals appear to have slower metabolisms but also better longevity, that there could well be a link to slower metabolism and length of life. Hence the featured image of a Tortoise, you were wondering why weren’t you!
The study suggests that slower metabolisms could therefore be more beneficial to healthy ageing, and lower calorie intakes slow ones metabolism! In other words, organisms that burn energy most efficiently should experience longer lives.
So in summary, calorie restriction lowers core body temperature and resting metabolic rate, and by slowing the metabolism we appear to reduce oxidative stress. Reductions in oxidative stress slows ageing and protects against age-related disease, which in turn could extend life. Easy. Well, kind of…
Now of course there is calorie restriction, and then there’s calorie restriction…you gotta do it right!
Yes, you still have to eat!
So the study concludes that a 15% reduction in total calorie intake over a period of two years saw an increase in life expectancy, but does this mean you should down cutlery and not eat? Absolutely, categorically not!
The study found reduced calories NOT zero calories. So remain diligent here guys.
Despite the compelling findings it will not pay you to indiscriminately cut calories. If the nutritional density of your diet is sub-par then despite the overall restriction of calories, you could find yourself developing acute and chronic nutritional deficiencies in the process. If the calorie deficit is so low then it could make it impossible to meet your micronutrient requirements for each day!
The researchers and authors of the study conclude by saying their next steps are to examine the effects of calorie restriction in conjunction with antioxidant foods or substances like resveratrol, which mimic calorie restriction.
This tells me that they 100% believe that calorie restriction in itself is not enough over a course of a lifetime, that in fact, the reduction in calories needs to be accompanied by a healthy balanced diet.