A US-based research claims that reducing the number of calories by 15% can help a person reverse his/her age! Here the word “reverse” relates to the drop in the risks associating age-related diseases that would add to the life of the individual by promoting his/her well being.
The journal Cell Metabolism, published in 2005, includes a paper based on a two-year research upon individuals who were asked to cut down their daily calorie intake by at least 15%. According to the researchers, the participants with a restricted calorie intake when compared to the people with regular diet showed positive health outcomes.
Their metabolism worked slowly which helped them to digest food and utilize the energy in an efficient manner. They had a reduced level of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress implies to the production of free radicals that may cause an oxidative damage to lipids, proteins, and DNA, leading to chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, the people with reduced caloric intake experienced fewer damage at cellular and organ level.
Leanne Redman of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the lead author, stated that the by-products of metabolism accelerate the process of aging but a restricted intake of calories can slow down our basal metabolism and may help to decrease the risks for chronic diseases and prolong life.
50 healthy and non-obese men and women were employed for the research experiments. The contestants in between 21 to 50 years were randomly assigned to either of the two groups,
1. A calorie-restricted group
2. A control group
They were asked to consume the food of their own choice. A “metabolic chamber” was used to measure the number of calories burnt.
The participants of the “Calorie restricted group” were found to lose about 20 lbs. or nine kg after two years of research although they didn’t follow any diet or weight loss plan. However, the individuals of the “control group” maintained their weight.
They also observed that the people who restricted their calorie intake gave positive health results. They burnt 80-120 fewer calories per day and were found to have a lower level of oxidative stress. They did not experience harmful effects from their diet e.g. disorders like anemia, unnecessary bone loss and menstrual disturbances were found to be at least. They were reported to have a vibrant mood and an improved lifestyle.
According to Redman, calorie restricted regime may also benefit the people who are already healthy and possess a lean body. Dr. Luigi Fontana, a Professor of medicine from Washington University in St. Louis says that metabolic rate and oxidative stress aren’t the solitary factors participating in providing health benefits. How the cells perceive nutrients may also take part in prolonging life spans because of calorie restrictions. He further stated that 70% of the US population is overweight and obese and calorie restriction can serve as a plausible solution to most of the health hazards prevailing in the society.
Owing to the limited number of the participants and a short duration of time, the researchers suggested that long-term studies can provide a better examination of the effects of calorie restriction upon individuals. In addition, these studies can also help the scientists to come across the effects of calorie restriction, in conjunction to the consumption of certain foods along with antioxidants, or resveratrol (a component of red wine, grapes, blueberries, and raspberries etc.), that have effects comparable to calorie restriction.