A new study shows that reducing calories by 15% for two years would slow down aging and help protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or cancer.
What if to stay young, it was enough to eat a little less? This is the surprising discovery made by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
In a study published March 22 in the journal Cell Metabolism, researchers say that a 15% reduction in daily caloric intake would slow metabolic aging. It would also reduce systemic oxidative stress associated with neurological pathologies developed with age, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but also diabetes or cancer.
“Limiting calories can slow down your basal metabolism, and if byproducts of metabolism speed up the aging process, caloric restriction for years can help reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolong life expectancy,” says Leanne. Dr. Redman, Associate Clinical Professor, Pennington Biomedical Research.
The results of the study are based on two experiments. For the first, the researchers followed 53 healthy, non-obese men and women aged 21 to 50 years. For two years, they reduced their caloric intake and underwent tests measuring their oxidative stress.
Although they did not follow a particular diet, they all average 9 kilograms of weight loss over two years. No adverse effects such as anemia, excessive bone loss or menstrual disorders have been noted. All subjects report having seen their mood and quality of life improve with the experience. “We have found that even people who are already healthy and slim can benefit from a caloric restriction diet,” says Prof. Redman.
A second experiment in laboratory animals showed that caloric restriction lowered body temperature and resting metabolic rate. A slower metabolism means that the body has become more efficient in using the “fuel” that is brought to it (food, oxygen) to derive energy from it.