On Calorie Restriction and Health

A paper that captures the present mainstream view on calorie restriction in humans: "There is increasing evidence that restricting caloric intake may have considerable health benefits in humans. Significant evidence in non-primate animals demonstrates that caloric restriction increases average and maximal life span. However, historically, caloric intake reduction in humans has been involuntary and accompanied by poverty, malnutrition, poor sanitation, and a lack of modern health care. As a result, caloric restriction in people typically has been accompanied by a reduction of both average and maximal life span. Conversely, improvements in standards of living usually are accompanied by an increased food supply and resultant improved health and longevity. The majority of the world is now in a new era where an abundance of caloric intake and its associated obesity are causing widespread chronic illness and premature death. What would happen if one were to institute caloric restriction with high-quality nutrition within an environment of modern sanitation and health care? This review argues that improved health and improved average life span would quite likely result. A lengthening of maximal human life span with this combination is perhaps possible but by no means certain."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21526354


Both extremes, poverty with calorie and nutritional restriction and obesity with indiscriminate caloric intake with possible poor nutrition, are prone to be accompanied by psychological problems. Extrapolating longevity data and theories from these groups can only leave one open to criticism. Both groups are far from 'normal'. Similar flawed longevity data, that married people live longer than single people, and this is somehow attributed to being married. Again, the statistics will show that a reason one is single may be poor health, sexual orientation and drug use, all of which are longevity detrimental. Indeed, if only mentally and physically healthy single people were chosen, the single may have the edge. Sample choosing is obviously extremely important, and sometimes generalizations are frankly humorous.

Posted by: gerald chessen m.d. at May 3rd, 2011 2:25 PM

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