Can Reducing Calories Improve Aging?

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Minimizing empty calories could improve aging.

Calorie consumption has been linked to weight gain and weight loss for decades.

No surprises there.

Although daily recommendations of nutrients are typically set for a 2,000-calorie diet, some people require more, and others need less.

These requirements vary based on factors like age, gender, and activity level.

According to a recent Money Talks News article titled “Cutting Calories by This Much Could Slow Aging, a recent study has also linked caloric intake to healthy aging.

Reducing calories can help with healthy aging.
Restricting calories while choosing nutrient-rich foods can improve health while aging.

The study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and co-authored by Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, who serves as the scientific director at the NIH, was published in the journal Aging Cell.

This research utilized muscle biopsy findings and other data from a previous NIH study titled Comprehensive Assessment of Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE).

What were the specific findings of this recent study?

The researchers noted a connection between calorie restriction and slowing the progression of aging-related diseases.

This connection was found specifically when the reduction in calories did not deprive the body of essential minerals and vitamins.

These results appeared consistent with studies on lab animals, which demonstrated improved health after a moderate restriction in caloric intake.

When the researchers conducted the current study, they hoped to determine whether this connection could be generalized to humans.

As they reviewed the data from the CALERIE study, the researchers noticed that those who reduced their caloric consumption by 12 percent over two years activated biological pathways found in healthy aging.

These same pathways were affected in the animals and the humans.

Why is this important?

Biological pathways are the methods cells use to signal other cells and can toggle certain genes off or on.

For example, genes responsible for inflammation.

Reducing calories slowed these genes and reduced inflammation common in various age-related health issues.

In addition to the changes in these biological pathways, the participants demonstrated other benefits.

Those who reduced their caloric intake by 12 percent tended to lose an average of 20 pounds during the first year and maintain the new weight during the second year.

While muscle mass was often diminished, the strength of the muscles was not.

What does this mean?

Calorie restriction can increase muscle mass efficiency, known as the “muscle-specific force.”

With the study’s results, Ferrucci recommends people try moderate restriction of calories to experience numerous benefits to healthy aging.

Reference:  Money Talks News (Oct. 24, 2023) “Cutting Calories by This Much Could Slow Aging

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