A great deal of research regarding the life-extending benefits of “caloric restriction” is being published. To date, most of it, though promising, demonstrated benefits in non-human models.
Recently a particularly encouraging study on Labrador retriever dogs, indicated that cutting calories intake by 30% increased the life span of these dogs by 2 years. Given the average life span of this species, that was an increase of over 20%. Quite remarkable.
I would strongly suggest to those who have dogs (especially larger dogs 50+) to consider cutting back their pets caloric intake.
I did this with my 4 year old, black German shepherd and his weight went from 100 lbs to 86lbs and his energy levels increased significantly. Several people upon meeting him for the first time, thought he was a puppy, no more than 8-12 months old.
Though proof of this concept for humans is not yet established, it is my bet that it will be. In some respects, digesting and metabolizing food puts demands on your body that can be considered contributors to aging.
The more one eats, the more free radicals they will generate, the more their bodies will have to detoxify and remove bi-products of digestion and metabolism both systemically and cellularly. The benefits of reducing calories goes beyond just the weight loss that occurs. Calorie restriction/reduction may be the best form of life insurance we can get, and it’s free.
Now a welcomed study from Tufts University has shown that caloric restriction in humans actually boosts our immune response. As humans age, their immune response tends to decline and become less efficient. Though animal studies have previously shown that caloric restriction improves immune function, this study is the first to show the same benefit in humans.
46 men and women who were overweight but not obese, were placed on calorie restricted diets reducing intake by either 10% or 30% for six months. At the end of that period test measuring DTH (Delayed Type Hypersensitivity, a test measuring whole body immune function) and T-cell function (white blood cells involved in immune response) improved significantly in both groups.
For those readers who would like to read the research, this study was funded by the Agricultural Research Service of the Department of Agriculture of the U.S. government. The lead researcher was Simin Nikbin Meydani and the article was published in 2009 in the Journal of Gerontology.
Curt Hendrix, M.S, C.C.N, C.N.S.