Thursday, March 21, 2013
The Secret of Longevity
But what if it were only to extend your life by five years? Two years? What would be your answer then?
Likely, you’ll consider all you could lose by closely monitoring your caloric intake from here on out—all those slices of cheesecake and midnight snack runs you’ll miss.
And even if cheesecake and other food-related vices should not, in the big picture, keep you from doing all you can to extend your life, the reality is that it likely will. If cheesecake is your thing, that is. Who knows? Maybe your thing is Chinese takeout, peanut butter ice cream, or Nutella crepes. Maybe you’re a gourmand and the idea of limiting your caloric intake for the rest of your life is in itself a kind of death.
Because this is what we really talk about when we talk about health and wellness: what are you willing to do to ensure a better quality of life for yourself? To ensure a life with lower risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. A life uninhibited by preventable illnesses.
Calorie-Restricted Diets: The Secret to Longevity?
There are many medical professionals, and average citizens included, who believe calorie-restriction paves the path to longevity. However, these individuals choose to consciously limit their calories without scientific research to ensure results; there are no guarantees that lower-calorie diets promote longevity.
This absence of sufficient proof is not for lack of trying: a recent Nature study monitored two groups of rhesus monkeys for 25 years to find the merits, or lack thereof, of a calorie-restricted diet and found no link between calorie-restriction and extended lifespan.
One group of monkeys was fed a strict diet of 30% fewer calories than they were used to eating, while the other group remained on the previous diet. Those concerned about the well-being of the “starved” monkeys should take consolation in the words of head-researcher Dr. Rafael de Cabo, who noted the group did not appear famished or starved during mealtimes, but consumed their meal at the same rate as the well-fed monkeys.
The conclusion of this study was disappointing for many, as the researchers could not prove calorie-restricted diets resulted in increased longevity.
Good Health = Longevity
However, the study did not come away completely empty-handed: researchers found lower rates of cancer and lower blood lipid levels, a factor related to cardiovascular health, in many monkeys from the calorie-restricted group. This suggests, in the words of biogerontologist Steven. N. Austad whose commentary accompanied the study in Nature, “health and longevity are not the same thing.”
Many call these results into question, citing a 2009 study from the University of Wisconsin also aimed at studying calorie-restriction in rhesus monkeys. This study, in contrast, did ascertain increased longevity in monkeys who ate less than their counterparts.
Of course, the studies had a variety of differences which are likely responsible for this variance in results. For instance, the diets fed to the Wisconsin monkeys were higher in sugar and the control group was offered unlimited food at mealtimes.
Is it Worth the Effort?
Although the longevity claims of calorie-restricted diets have been somewhat refuted by the Nature study, the other benefits of lower caloric intake seem compelling enough in and of themselves.
The observed rates of cancer and triglyceride levels in the calorie-restricted monkeys are of particular importance to Americans, as cancer and cardiovascular disease are the two prime killers of adults in the United States.
Which takes us back to the original question: what are you willing to do and how much are you willing to change to ensure lifelong health?
The Get Slim Now Transformation is a health program that focuses on the big picture. We know real health, weight loss, and physical fitness do not come quickly or easily. However, we also know these are attainable goals that, with the help of your Success Coach and science-backed products, remain thoroughly within your grasp.
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