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Calorie Restriction and Longevity

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Updated November 23, 2008

Calorie restriction

Eat Less, Live Longer

Steven Errico / Getty Images

Calorie Restriction:

Calorie restriction is a strategy to increase life expectancy by reducing the total amount of calories consumed daily. Calorie restriction research has been around since the 1930s and recent studies have shown longevity benefits to rats and other animals from a low calorie diet. Calorie restriction is thought to prevent or improve numerous health conditions, especially ones related to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Quality, Low Calorie Foods:

In calorie restriction, nutritional choices are very important. Calorie-poor, nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables are chosen over sugars, high carbohydrate items and other foods. Anyone using a calorie restriction diet should be well-educated on nutrition and have regular check-ups with their doctor. On average, the typical American consumes between 2000 and 3000 calories per day. Someone practicing calorie restriction may consume between 1500 and 2000 daily calories.

Animal Experiments:

The maximum lifespan of rats has been nearly doubled in some experiments by placing the rats on a nutritious, low calorie diet. Other animals have also been used to prove the benefits of calorie restriction including monkeys, mice, and spiders. Not only do the animals on calorie restriction live longer, they remain more youthful, energetic and healthy.

Human Effectiveness:

In humans, calorie restriction has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve the function of heart, veins, and arteries, and lower blood insulin levels. No one really knows if calorie restriction can increase the life expectancy in humans.

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