T Nation

Calorie Restriction & Longevity


wow wierd al is jacked! Oh wait… I just have seen the skinnest guy like ever…

[quote]Professor X wrote:
boroughbred wrote:
A piece for the rather-live-longer-than-bulkier crowd:

Calorie Restriction:

That’s funny. Since when do animal studies translate directly over to humans with no human trials? Further, where are all of the people living to be over 100 years old who don’t eat much? Shouldn’t there be a lot more of those by now?[/quote]

Calorie restriction has been shown to extend the life span of most animals. From drosophila flies to apes. As far as i’m aware there are no animals in which calorie restriction has not increased lifespan. I think it is fairly safe to assume that this will be true in humans as well.

The real question is why this works? I worked as an RA for a geneticist who was studying the effects of calorie restriction in flies and the relation to their mitochondria.
There are a bunch of different theories as to what is going on. THe two big ones are fewer calories=Less oxidative stress (via lower mitochondria activity). The other is lowering sex hormone levels, which is more interesting to us (and other higher mammals). Personally I would rather keep my testosterone than live for over 100 years.

[quote]gotaknife wrote:
Professor X wrote:
boroughbred wrote:
A piece for the rather-live-longer-than-bulkier crowd:

Calorie Restriction:

That’s funny. Since when do animal studies translate directly over to humans with no human trials? Further, where are all of the people living to be over 100 years old who don’t eat much? Shouldn’t there be a lot more of those by now?

Calorie restriction has been shown to extend the life span of most animals. From drosophila flies to apes. As far as i’m aware there are no animals in which calorie restriction has not increased lifespan. I think it is fairly safe to assume that this will be true in humans as well.

The real question is why this works? I worked as an RA for a geneticist who was studying the effects of calorie restriction in flies and the relation to their mitochondria.
There are a bunch of different theories as to what is going on. THe two big ones are fewer calories=Less oxidative stress (via lower mitochondria activity). The other is lowering sex hormone levels, which is more interesting to us (and other higher mammals). Personally I would rather keep my testosterone than live for over 100 years.[/quote]

Good thoughts…

[quote]gotaknife wrote:
Professor X wrote:

Calorie restriction has been shown to extend the life span of most animals. From drosophila flies to apes. As far as i’m aware there are no animals in which calorie restriction has not increased lifespan. I think it is fairly safe to assume that this will be true in humans as well.

The real question is why this works? I worked as an RA for a geneticist who was studying the effects of calorie restriction in flies and the relation to their mitochondria.
There are a bunch of different theories as to what is going on. THe two big ones are fewer calories=Less oxidative stress (via lower mitochondria activity). The other is lowering sex hormone levels, which is more interesting to us (and other higher mammals). Personally I would rather keep my testosterone than live for over 100 years.
[/quote]

Unfortunately, unlike animals and insects that can be confined in controlled environments for a lifetime, the list of “x-factors” that are not accounted for when compared to a living human don’t give them anymore credit when attempting to make a direct cross-species conclusion involving only one variable.

When do we get to see all of the extremely skinny 100+ year olds who owe their old age to a lifetime of barely eating and fasting? Why are there no examples of this based on any human cultures that have lived on this planet?

I do agree, I would rather live a fewer number of years but actually LIVE than simply out-survive everyone else by living in a sterilized bubble for the rest of my life.

If the man whose picture is in this thread is a glimpse of the life I would have to live for this to be accomplished, I do believe I will pass, finish this protein shake, and go lift some weights that outweigh him by a couple of hundred pounds.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
That’s funny. Since when do animal studies translate directly over to humans with no human trials? Further, where are all of the people living to be over 100 years old who don’t eat much? Shouldn’t there be a lot more of those by now?[/quote]

I am under the impression that the vast majority (I dare not say “all of them”) of the people who are on a “restricted calories” diet are actually eating pretty bad stuff - either by not getting enough protein, or something else.

Also, humans are a lot more complex than animals. The latter are mindless and under all but the most extreme situations will live a life that is best for their bodies (i.e. no stress) while humans are often hellbent on making their lives miserable for nothing at all - not good for the lifespan.

I’ve seen a lot of studies showing how a little bit of alcohol daily is good for your health. I always wondered how much is a purely biological effect, and how much is interference from the effects of alcohol over the mind - i.e. it might actually be bad for the body, but it relaxes the mind so much that the poor body gets a break from running all the time on a “cortisol-enhanced” fuel, and there’s an overall positive effect for the body.

I find it hard to believe that a restricted calorie diet will have no positive effect on the lifespan of humans whatsoever, since it has been demonstrated on a wide variety of species, from really simple organisms all the way up to primates. Why would we be different?

Well, we are different, but that’s just because of the mind. Bodily, we’re just big apes. The SIRT1 effect should apply to us too.

“When do we get to see all of the extremely skinny 100+ year olds who owe their old age to a lifetime of barely eating and fasting? Why are there no examples of this based on any human cultures that have lived on this planet?”

Okinawans tend to be some of the lonest lived people on the planet, as a group, and they have a long standing tradition of eating to eight tenths full.

Which is anecdotal, sure. And their traditional diet is excellent, anyway.

The problem with asking the above question about humans is that caloric restriction in the longevity sense requires undereating while still getting the proper amounts of nutrition, something that most of the world can’t manage now and historically has never had the opportunity to do.

Given how it works in virtually every animal it’s been tried in, I’d be surprised if it didn’t work in humans.

The caveat is that doing so would be extremely difficult and to get the kind of results the studies have you need to start from birth.

Doing what bone boy in the picture does, in animals, leads to an increase, but what would only be maybe another ten years for a human.

(Assuming I remember right.)

Frankly, it seems like a hard and unpleasant way to live considering that other ways would probably work nearly as well.

I think it will work in humans since it works with all other creatures studied.

One reason you may not already see it in people is that it requires under eating calories while getting an abundance of vitamins, minerals, etc.

But what if it works. Who will use it? We already know that exercise works but nobody does it.

I think somebody already mentioned the fact of the large number of variables that are unaccounted for in the very limited human data for this type of thing, but one huge one is restriction from what? What type of food?

So much of contemporary fare is so positively wrong that even the hamster diet followed by this emaciated scarecrow in the pictures is probably healthy by comparison.

On a related level, restricting calories from lousy food is by definition going to be healthier than eating more of it, duh. Hitting your self on the head with a hammer 3 times is going to be more damaging than doing it once.

Data for humans can only begin to approach relevance when a very long term study is completed with subjects who eat differing amounts of the same high quality food with identical activity levels, environmental influences and stress levels among other things.

In the meantime I’ll continue my quite large caloric intake and all the benefits it’s bringing me today.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
… Hitting your self on the head with a hammer 3 times is going to be more damaging than doing it once.

[/quote]

Study?

[quote]florin wrote:
…Well, we are different, but that’s just because of the mind. Bodily, we’re just big apes. The SIRT1 effect should apply to us too.[/quote]

Think with me for second. Even allowing for the hypothesis that “bodily we are just big apes” which I do not believe to be the case, the very thoroughly documented term “psychosomatic” renders this point moot to the nth degree.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Tiribulus wrote:
… Hitting your self on the head with a hammer 3 times is going to be more damaging than doing it once.

Study?[/quote]

Is that a challenge? lol! I’m going to rely on analytical probability here and leave the trials to someone else.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
florin wrote:
…Well, we are different, but that’s just because of the mind. Bodily, we’re just big apes. The SIRT1 effect should apply to us too.

Think with me for second. Even allowing for the hypothesis that “bodily we are just big apes” which I do not believe to be the case, the very thoroughly documented term “psychosomatic” renders this point moot to the nth degree.[/quote]

Good point. It should be very clear by now that our own mental state has the ability to affect us physically. If that isn’t one HUGE wrench to throw into this belief, I don’t know what is.

Thanks to JB and Lou for blogging some good points. I read about these guys a couple years ago. They actually have a society, CRON, which stands for Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, or something like that. They refer to themselves as “cronnies.”

There was an interview with one of the members who was 5’8" and 115. He said he “one” of the drawbacks was that he was always cold, even in summer. Quality of life is not all it’s crapped up to be.

[quote]MikeTheBear wrote:
There was an interview with one of the members who was 5’8" and 115. He said he “one” of the drawbacks was that he was always cold, even in summer. Quality of life is not all it’s crapped up to be.[/quote]

I’m trying hard to imagine what that guy looks like…I’m trying to take 80 odd lbs off my frame (we’re the same height)…and I’m left with not a lot of man.

Not surprised he’s cold all the time, the wind must blow right through him!

Check out the people in these videos. These people don’t look anything close to healthy.

http://www.calorierestriction.org/Video_Clips

Irony would be living your life like that…and then getting hit by a car before the age of 40.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Irony would be living your life like that…and then getting hit by a car before the age of 40.[/quote]

LOL! yeah, one of those battery powered toys being piloted by a 9 year old which would probably still kill ya.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Irony would be living your life like that…and then getting hit by a car before the age of 40.[/quote]

Lou talks about this in his blog. According to Lou, if they don’t die, their low level of muscle mass and strength will make for a very long recovery, and they may not make it to full recovery. I’m also guessing that these folks’ bones are quite brittle, which means multiple fractures.

I also wonder if they get any type of exercise. The videos all have them saying they have lots of energy, but can they actually use that “energy” to exercise? I think it’s now accepted that exercise is a vital component to good health regardless of your weight, BP, and blood work. I think it’s even been suggested that people who are a bit overweight but exercise are actually healthier than skinny but sedentary people.

Why does anybody here get angry when reading this article? It presents the facts about what research has discovered about restricted eating. It does not say that anybody should do it. It is not biased in favor of this type of diet or else it would have shown a more flattering picture. So why be pissed? Any why be so fast to dismiss the research? It is just research.

My only grievance against the article is that they present that guy as applying the research to structure his diet. I think a better way to describe it is that he has an eating disorder and uses the research to justify his food phobia. But he would have the food phobia even if the research was not there.

I can’t say if the restricted calorie diet for monkeys has any significant impact on their ability to thrive in a natural environment but I’d bet my left nut that any athlete on a surplus calorie diet would do far better in the wild than our 135 pound vegan friend.

This article isn’t really practical for anyone who visits this website but it’s defiantly worth bringing up. It points out the huge contrast between athletes and everyone else.