Eating fewer calories can keep us younger

Again, researchers show that a low-calorie diet keeps people younger, but why this is still unclear.

We already know that eating too much is bad for health. But what if eating less was better for you in more ways than one? according to a new studyRestricting your calorie intake can help slow the aging process down to your genetic material.

The recommended caloric intake can vary substantially based on factors such as height, gender and lifestyle, but a general rule of thumb approximates the recommended caloric intake for women at 2,000 and 2,500 for men. In the study, scientists at Columbia University (New York) conducted a randomized control test with 220 healthy adults, asking half of them to reduce their calories by a quarter.

They then tracked the participants’ diet and general health status for two years, taking blood samples at baseline, mid-study and at the end. By analyzing key DNA markers, they found a clear difference between those who reduced their calorie intake and those who did not.

Eating less is like quitting smoking

Getting people to eat less isn’t easy. People in the calorie-restricted group had to be counseled and familiarized with what their new rations looked like. They were given three prepared meals a day for the first month to get used to it. But even then, most were unable to maintain a 25% calorie reduction.

Instead, the researchers estimate that most people in the calorie-restricted group ended up reducing their daily caloric intake by about 12 percent. But 12% was enough to see the differences.

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It’s always difficult to interpret these types of epigenetic changes, but the researchers note that the rate of DNA aging was 2-3% slower in people on a calorie-restricted diet. This translates to a 10-15% reduction in the risk of premature death. It’s more or less the same effect you see in people who stop smoking..

In everyday life, this could have implications for people who practice dietary strategies such as intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating. It confirms other studies with national datasets showing that people in Japan who remain thinner than most are among the longest-lived of any nation. Tests have also shown that drugs that remove excess calories from sugars and appear to help mitigate “cellular overfeeding” also reduce many of the consequences of aging, such as heart failure or chronic kidney disease. This new work, therefore, fits into an emerging body of evidence that all points in the same direction.

Indeed, previous studies, both in animals and humans, have also suggested that calorie-restricted diets may have a beneficial effect on health, but this has not yet been sufficiently explored (and is difficult to explore due to the complexity of the diet). of the phenomena involved). Study participants are now being followed to determine whether the intervention had long-term effects on healthy aging.


Effect of long-term calorie restriction on DNA methylation measures of biological aging in healthy adults from the CALERIE study

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