It seems like everyone is looking for ways to stay young. In a new study, trimming your calorie consumption by 15% may be the answer. The research, which was published in the journal Cell Metabolism, studied the connection between by-products of metabolism that causes oxidation and increased risk for age-related neurological conditions such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. The study participants’ metabolic rates dropped significantly and it continued into the second year. In previous studies with animals, it was shown that cutting calories by 25% helped them live longer. A CALERIE (Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy) study led by Leanne M. Redman set out to see if the same could be true for humans.
Bio-markers of Aging
In the first stage of the study, the researchers did some small trial experiments to determine the biomarkers such as the calorie restriction that participants can stick to. Some pilot studies they worked with included a diet-only calorie reduction, exercise only, and others with half-diet and half-exercise. The researchers decided on slashing calories by 25% solely through diet. They enlisted women between 25 and 45 and men between the age of 25 and 50. Half of them had a normal weight while the others were overweight. The participants could eat whatever they wanted as long as they cut down their calorie intake by 25%. Each of them was given a scale to weigh themselves but it wasn’t used to calculate daily calories but their weight loss. The total amount of calories reduced was assessed by their weight loss.
The participants were not able to hit the 25% reduction as they only managed to trim down on about 15% of their daily calories in the course of two years. Redman noted that even though the 25% reduction was not achieved, the results were still significant in which the average weight loss was 20 pounds each. The loss was maintained during the second year. Redman also disclosed that the calorie-restrictive diet led to a 10% reduction in sleeping metabolic rate, which is important because generating energy in the body means generating byproducts. The byproducts gather in the body over time and cause cell and organ destruction that leads to aging. Slowing down the sleeping metabolic rate extends our life span. Lower levels of oxidative damage were also found when it was calibrated by a compound in urine. Cutting down calories simulated healthy aging manifestations displayed by people with longer life spans.
The Big ‘Breakthrough’
According to biologist John R. Speakman, the study’s breakthrough is that it initiated a randomized controlled trial of calorie reduction in humans. While it is established that calorie restriction decreases the rate of aging and prolongs life in rodents and other animals, it showed two main changes that have already been seen in calorie-restricted rodents. Speakman shared that these changes “lowered metabolic rate and reduced production of radical oxygen species”.
The study also found that the level of calorie restriction in humans is more modest as opposed to that used in rodents and other animals. It only tells us that it is quite challenging to do calorie restriction work in humans. But the study basically tells us that cutting down on our calorie intake gives all kinds of people healthier results with its lower metabolism and reduced oxidative damage and it also prevents aging.