Health & Wellbeing

Eat less ... and live longer?

New research suggests that cutting calories is connected to increased longevity
New research suggests that cutting calories is connected to increased longevity
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BYU professor John Price
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BYU professor John Price
New research suggests that cutting calories is connected to increased longevity
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New research suggests that cutting calories is connected to increased longevity

New research suggests that cutting calories could do more than just slim our waistlines, it might also be a newfound fountain of youth. A study by a team at Brigham Young University finds that eating less can actually slow down the process of aging at a cellular level.

Scientists observed two groups of mice – one with access to an all-you-can-eat buffet while the other had enough food to survive but with calories restricted to 35 percent less. The mice with a lower caloric intake saw protein production by the ribosomes in their cells reduced. This actually slows down the aging process of the cell by allowing the ribosomes to repair themselves.

"The ribosome is a very complex machine, sort of like your car, and it periodically needs maintenance to replace the parts that wear out the fastest," said BYU biochemistry professor and study co-author John Price. "When tires wear out, you don't throw the whole car away and buy new ones. It's cheaper to replace the tires."

Price explains that there seems to be a direct connection between restricting calorie consumption and an increase in longevity.

"The calorie-restricted mice are more energetic and suffered fewer diseases," Price said. "And it's not just that they're living longer, but because they're better at maintaining their bodies, they're younger for longer as well."

BYU professor John Price
BYU professor John Price

The BYU team isn't the first to make the connection between caloric intake and lifespan. In fact, a long-term study involving monkeys that spans decades has shown similar results – one of the study subjects has even set a longevity record for his species.

The link to a slowdown in protein production on the cellular level and the part played by the ribosome in preserving youth is a new revelation, according to the BYU team. Ribosomes can use up to a fifth of a cell's energy to create the proteins it needs to function. Eating less reduces demand on this tiny protein factory, so it has time to do a little self-maintenance in order to keep producing quality proteins that keep the entire body functioning better.

But Price cautions that starving yourself to stay young isn't a strategy that can be prescribed just yet. Such research has yet to be tested on humans and a more well-rounded approach to self care is essential.

"Food isn't just material to be burned — it's a signal that tells our body and cells how to respond," Price said. "We're getting down to the mechanisms of aging, which may help us make more educated decisions about what we eat."

Source: Brigham Young University

7 comments
Chizzy
a longer life at the cost of being hungry? that's not living if you are an American.
Skipjack
On the other hand they found out that starvation lowers the IQ... Not sure what is better ;)
FacelessMinion
Yeah, American living is living the last 10-20 years of your life with severe heart disease, pace-makers, stints, diabetes and failing abused joints. A real dilemma. Eat less/spend 20 years disabled.
Bob Flint
Duh... it's not rocket science.There is a direct relationship to eating well, with balanced calories going in to match the activity level, calories burned or coming out. The big problem is greed, overeating because it feels/tastes good well then your off balance will lead to fat accumulating , and a shorter life span as your system has to cope with the extra weight, shortness of breath, etc....
Douglas Bennett Rogers
I am putting my money on eating just short of acid reflux at any given age.
John Birk
Full time caloric restriction has the benefits described in the article, however research now indicates that intermittent fasting of only one or few days a week, has the same benefits. Fasting does not lower IQ, IQ actually increases during a fast because digesting food produces glucose, however burning fat while fasting produces ketones and the brain is more efficient burning ketones, after all there is and old saying, "hunger sharpens the mind". It's an evolutionary development, in pre-agricultural times we and animals never had three meals a day, so it was a cycle of lots of food followed by feeling satiated and tired, just like that big thanksgiving dinner, the reason is if you have more calories than you can currently use the body will store it as fat for the lean times. On the other hand if hunger lowered your IQ and made you tired your hunting abilities would decline and you and your species would suffer extinction. If you wish to research this further Google "health benefits of intermittent fasting", or click on this link; https://www.google.com.ag/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#safe=off&q=health+benefits+of+intermittent+fasting Scientia Non Domus, (Knowledge has No Home) antiguajohn
VickiNewby
The article says 35% fewer calories. I've seen other material that placed the suggestion at 30% fewer calories. I don't think most people are going to crater over missing about a third of their daily calories, especially those of us who are "plump," as my friend likes to say. I can totally see where a third less calories every day would sure do me some good way before I need to start worrying about how much longer I might live 😄