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"Calorie Restriction" Extends Life

Posted Jul 28 2009 10:10pm

Reducing calories by just 25-30% can not only help you lose weight but it can also extend your life.

We've known for a while that "calorie restriction" extends the life of every species studied in the lab, from yeast cells to worms to mice. But up to now, there's been some question as to whether those results apply to "higher" species like primates.

Twenty years ago, researchers began a study of rhesus monkeys to see if they would respond to a reduced calorie diet in the same way as mice and other species do. The first of those studies was published in the journal Science suggests that calorie restriction works just as well for primates as it does for mice. The hope is that it might work for humans as well.

The researchers allowed half of the monkeys to eat as much as they wanted, while the other half ate a nutrient-rich diet with about 30% less calories. Sixty-three percent of the animals eating the calorie restricted diet are still alive, compared to 45% of the "eat all you want" group. The unlimited calorie group died at about three times the rate of those on the lower calorie diet.

Reducing calories not only slowed aging in the monkeys but it also delayed cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and brain atrophy.

You can see what the monkeys looked like here.

The conventional wisdom has always held that losing weight is simply a matter of reducing calories. While there's certainly truth in this, the fact is that staying on a reduced calorie diet is often difficult, especially when that diet is low in fat and high in carbs. High-sugar diets- even when calories are low- create their own cravings and make sticking to them very difficult, as anyone knows who ever tried to eat just one chocolate chip cookie.

While you can certainly lose weight (and hopefully extend life) by gritting your teeth and counting calories, proponents of lower carb diets- like me- have long argued that it's easier to stay on a diet higher in fat and protein and somewhat lower in carbohydrates. It's also a lot easier to get all your nutrition from less calories when your main source of carbs is vegetables and fruits, and it's a lot easier to stave off cravings when you're eating enough protein and fat.

That's the principle behind the Diet Boot Camp Program. Even though calories clearly count, you don't count calories on Diet Boot Camp. You simply knock out the foods that are highest in junk carbs, leading to an automatic reduction in calories (and sugar!) and a healthier diet all around.

Plus you lose weight!

The Okinawans have a saying called "hara hatchi bu" which means 'Eat until you're 80% full". Since they're among the longest lived (and healthiest) people on the planet, it might be a good idea to learn from their playbook.

You're less likely to have to worry about calories if you limit your food to what I call "the Jonny Bowden Four Food Groups": Food you could have hunted, gathered, fished for or plucked.

That's not only the foundation of the Diet Boot Camp eating plan, but it's also the best natural fuel for a healthy body!

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