Just in time for Thanksgiving comes this happy news from the National Institutes of Health: Eating even modestly less of our terrible national diet can have a big effect.
Cutting calories by just 12% a day can make us healthier and even slow aging, new research suggests.
That works out to a reduction of just over 400 calories based on a typical American diet, which runs at a staggering 3,500 calories a day.
“This slight reduction in calories was sufficient to activate most of the biological pathways that are important in healthy aging,” the NIH said.
The results were based on a two-year study involving about 200 volunteers with a healthy body weight and ages from 21 to 50.
“A 12% reduction in calorie intake is very modest,” said Luigi Ferrucci, scientific director of the National Institute of Aging and one of the authors of the research. “This kind of calorie reduction is doable and can make a big difference in your health.”
Participants should cut their calorie intake by 25%. In the end, they knew half. But it didn’t matter: even the smallest reduction in calories had a measurable impact on health.
Two separate research papers based on the study have just been published in the scientific journal Aging Cell.
Cutting calories was good for everything, from cellular aging and rejuvenation to muscle performance. The participants lost muscle mass during the study, when they lost an average of 10 pounds in body weight, but the remaining muscles were stronger and healthier.
This study did not come out of the blue. There is now a growing body of evidence in favor of (reasonable) caloric restriction, as long as you still get all your key nutrients. Other studies have found much the same.
There is also some debate about what the benefits are of being in a healthy weight range, as opposed to simply not being obese. But there is no debate about the medical risks of obesity.
If there is ever a time in the year to think about the cost of overeating (and the benefits of eating modestly), this is it.
It is no exaggeration or distortion to announce that, according to all available scientific research, Thanksgiving and the holiday season are killing us.
First, obesity is the pandemic that no one wants to panic about.
Those with regular obesity, meaning a body mass index above 30, can expect to die almost 10 years younger than those with healthy body weights. Those with more serious obesity, meaning a body mass index above 35, can expect to die almost 15 years younger.
These are, obviously, massive losses of life. Especially when you realize that over 40% of the US population is now classified as obese.
(The body mass index, or BMI, is a tool widely used in medicine to measure body weight. It is defined as your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. There are many free online calculators that will tell you your BMI.)
In total, poor diet, overeating and obesity kill more than half a million Americans a year, reports the Journal of the American Medical Association.
What does it have to do with Thanksgiving? Abundance.
Research published several years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine found that one of the biggest culprits in our long national march toward eating ourselves to death is the annual six-week stretch from Turkey Day to New Year’s Day. . We overeat during the holidays every year, put on a few pounds, and then fail to put them back on.
Rinse, repeat, for 30 or 40 years, and voila.
Oh, and round it all off: Other research has shown that big meals like Thanksgiving are especially lethal because you tend to eat more simply because there are many people at the table.
“The amount eaten in meals by humans is a power function of the number of people present,” the researchers found.
“Cake or death,” famously asked comedian Eddie Izzard. Maybe that’s not the real question. Maybe cake, or too cake, it is death.
But it is, of course, still a free country (for now, anyway). For that we can be grateful.
#Cutting #calories #slow #aging #healthier
Image Source : www.marketwatch.com