August 2, 2012

Add years to your life: Eat 600 calories a day.

"The bottom line is that it is the only thing that's ever really been shown to prolong life... Ultimately, ageing is a product of a high metabolic rate, which in turn increases the number of free radicals we consume."

And you thought you wanted to rev up your metabolism! No, keep it slow. Make it slower! If you believe this stuff, that is.

ADDED: New research indicates that exercise does not "rev up" your metabolism (as many people seem to think). It either stays the same or slows down. I'm guessing that response is healthy and protective of the body, not a dysfunction at all (as many people seem to think).

47 comments:

John Burgess said...

We now have the ability to choose form a full spectrum of kinds of life:

Long but miserable
Average but fun
Short but lots of fun

chickelit said...

Eating less every year as you age was one of Bill Proxmire's pieces of advice. I'm will to do that but drinking less every year is tougher.

Triangle Man said...

The calorie restriction benefits to longevity are clearest for rodents and lower vertebrates. The results are not nearly as clear cut for primates and have not been demonstrated in well-controlled trials in chimps, much less in humans.

David said...

I do.

About 4 times a day.

So I should live 4 times as long.

David said...

Actually chiclit I've pretty much cut out the drinking. I enjoy sleeping too and alcohol interferes with sleep.

edutcher said...

I thought James Bond did away with all the free radicals in "Never Say Never Again".

"His findings are backed by a University College London study"

Aha, NHS again. Eliminating the middle man and having us starve ourselves.

chickelit said...

I enjoy sleeping too and alcohol interferes with sleep

Not me. Maybe you should up your dosage?

Tim DeRoche said...

The key thing to remember - about these caloric restriction studies - is that the animals that live longer are *laboratory* animals. They aren't exposed to all the pathogens and infectious diseases that are in the real world.

They've shown that people who weigh a little bit more than average actually live *longer*...presumably because they have a "cushion" if they get sick.

These guys doing caloric restriction to extend their lives are likely to die sooner...unless they also build themselves a bubble house.

Joe said...

Mice live longer on heavily restricted calories, but studies of humans eating heavily caloric restricted diets have shown them to be very bad for you and fatal.

One of the most fascinating studies ever of diet as The Minnesota Starvation experiment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Starvation_Experiment

The benefit of fasting is dubious. A few studies have shown some benefit, but others have found it to be rather harmful if done more than rarely by otherwise healthy individuals.

(BTW, the article contains a basic self-contradiction. The quoted study says that reducing caloric input by 40% has a benefit, but for the average person that's 1200 calories a day, not 600.

On the other hand, this would take care of some social security issues.)

Alex said...

This is true. I took a class on the biology of aging in my last college semester and there studies that showed calorie restriction = longer life.

dreams said...

It didn't work for Roy Walford who hope to live to 120 years old but died at age 79. I read his book sometime around the 1980s.

AllieOop said...

Ah the hell with that, I'm eating at least 1500 calories (I'd rather count carbs:)) a day and will continue taking my Synthroid.

Bob Ellison said...

The Catch-22 character Dunbar took the live-slowly concept to its logical conclusion. It didn't work.

Ron said...

at only 600 calories a day....who would want to live LONGER?

Donna B. said...

That kind of calorie restriction might lead to a longer life, but it's probably a non-reversible decision.

If, say after a year of 600 calories a day, you decided you'd had enough of not having enough and wanted to go back to a "normal" diet of 1200 calories, your metabolism won't readjust very quickly (if at all) and you'll end up with an unhealthy weight gain that you would not have otherwise experienced.

Bob Ellison said...

Joe, mice might not do that well that way, but humans would obviously do better if they stopped eating, living, and moving. They might just stop, and that would be good for the earth.

traditionalguy said...

So the Japanese Army was really doing the American POWs a favor, provided they first lost some unsightly weight by execising on a guided 60 mile night and day march from Batann with no food. no sleep and no water for 6 days, but death for falling down.

Then 600 calories a day for 3 years was designed to keep them slim and trim until they could be murdered for the honor of the Emperor.

These guys who advise us not to sleep or eat are no better than those Jap guard sadists.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Is this being brought up now to keep people from worrying about the rising cost of food?

Jason (the commenter) said...

Almost everyone used to live on a calorie restricted diet in the past, and most of them were dead by 40.

chickelit said...

Jason (the commenter) said...
Almost everyone used to live on a calorie restricted diet in the past, and most of them were dead by 40.

This could help thin the ranks of unfunded pensioners.

Lem said...

"Add years to your life: Eat 600 calories a day."

Where could one possibly get on 600 calories a day?

Much less swim.

jimbino said...

I listen to BBC and NPR all night long. I'm sure it shortens my life, though I wake up each morning totally mis-informed.

Eric said...

600 calories a day? Well, okay, you may live longer but at the cost of not having enough energy to do much of anything. Standing would be a chore.

elkh1 said...

600 cal a day? Your metabolism slows, your muscles go flappy, your brain atrophies. A day feels like a year. You don't live longer, it just feels that way. You'll be glad to go when the time comes. Of course, that'll cut down your carbon foorprints and Obamacare costs.

Bender said...

Yes, eating a lot of calories ages you. That's why the lifespan of the overweight generations of today is higher than ever in human history.

Back when people did consume less than 1000 calories per day, 50 years was elderly. Indeed, just look at pictures of 30-year-olds back in the 1930s-40s, when nearly everyone was thin due to fewer calories -- they look 15-20 years older than today's 30-year-olds.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Since now we know 600 calories a day is healthy, they'd better cut the food stamp and school lunch programs. The science has been settled, a consensus has been reached! Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg can step in?

Lem said...

On 600 calories a day we wont have the energy to sin.

Indigo Red said...

Damn! I was hoping that was 600 calories in addition to the 8000 I currently consume.

ALH said...

600 calories per day?
Phelps eats almost that much per hour!

wyo sis said...

I have low blood pressure and a slow metabolism. My doctor congratulated me because those things are associated with longer life. I'm not all that thrilled. Half alive for twice as long doesn't sound like a great bargain.

Carnifex said...

Is this a theme posting to go along with the elderly couple getting busted for ....you know?

'Cause if it is, that's pretty damn funny. And subtle.

If it's not, it's still funny. Just not subtle.

bagoh20 said...

The ideal life is apparently living as little as possible and dragging that out for as long as possible. Oh well, too late for me. I'll just have to enjoy myself with a quickness.

AllieOop said...

Did you say a quickie Bagoh?

bagoh20 said...

Let's do it Oop. Times a wasting, and we ain't gonna live forever, but we can't stretch it out. You can't expect to get satisfaction from a man living on 600 calories, and I burn up 500 just getting us undressed. Wait I'm getting a little light headed just thinking about it. Now I gotta take nap.

AllieOop said...

Well, the least you could do is buy me a coffee first at the cafe thread.

bagoh20 said...

No cream, that extra 50 calories could be the ones that kill me.

n.n said...

I imagine that individuals in a coma can achieve virtual immortality, which would explain a progressive dissociation between cost and benefit. I guess it all depends on your perspective of reality.

Steven said...

"There's a special place in purgatory reserved for scientists who make bold claims based on tiny effects of uncertain origin..."

...or which have only been observed in rodents.

heyboom said...

My philosophy is founded in one simple thought:

Eat healthy, exercise, die anyway.

Chip Ahoy said...

I say, whatever you decide on, consider using a lot more spice.

A lot more. By the teaspoon full blam blam blam all different kinds and over the place.

Quit being so dainty about it.

Once Mum was drinking wine while preparing holiday dinner, she really cannot handle alcohol, and accidentally dumped the whole little jar of sage but she was high from wine and she went, "aw screw it" and stirred all that sage into the dressing without caring anymore about it being ruined with excessive herbs. Wine lowered her herb/spice-adding inhibitions and for the first time Dad noticed. "Hey, this is great!" That's an herb not a spice but the same proscription against spice pusillanimity applies.

That happened to me skiing one momentous afternoon. Got a little drunk up there at lunch. Noticed everybody getting off the lift and doing all these dainty little S curves connected together like S-S-S-S-S before disappearing over the hill, and I sat there thinking, "Hey, *sip* instead of doing all those *sip* S-curves connected together *sip* when I get down there *sip* I'm going to do one *sip* hard C-curve *sip* and hold the position no matter what occurs under *sip* ski. *sip*" Boom. Just like that, my skiing improved. And the moral of the two anecdotes is have a little wine to undermine inhibitions about overcoming spice inhibitions and making one good hard C-curve in place of several ineffective unskilled S-curves while skiing.

D.D. Driver said...

"The calorie restriction benefits to longevity are clearest for rodents and lower vertebrates. The results are not nearly as clear cut for primates and have not been demonstrated in well-controlled trials in chimps, much less in humans."

It is in the process of being confirmed in rhesus monkeys (in Madison).

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/10/science/10aging.html

The reason that these studies are conclusive in mice and rats but not primates is because primates *live a lot longer.* It takes longer to do the studies.

There's a lot more science supporting calorie restriction than a lot of the utter bullshit that we were taught in school about nutrition.

I'm fairly convinced that a lot of what we "know" about nutrition is little more than an old wives tale created by psuedo-scientists in the 50s and 60s. The harmful effects of salt is one example.

Reason did a good re-cap lately:

http://reason.com/blog/2012/07/19/reasontv-how-the-government-makes-you-fa

DEEBEE said...

This only makes sense if the point of living is hust being alive.

codeweasel said...

Every exceptionally old person I've ever known was terribly thin.

The heavy ones, OTOH, seem to die off in their 70s if not before.

lemondog said...

Trying to envision 600 calories. Take 1/3 the following for a 3 meal a day diet:

Diet Meals With 500 to 600 Calories

A 4-oz. breast is the standard size for the centerpiece of this meal and contains about 130 calories. Add 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and it's an additional 40 calories. Some good sides with chicken include a salad with 2 tbsp. of olive oil and 1 tbsp. vinegar, which amount to roughly 250 calories. A 1/3 cup serving of broccoli, cheese and rice casserole will add around 150 calories, for a grand total of 570 calories for this healthy diet meal.

Please, I couldn't eat another bite.

hamcentral said...

Anyone else browsing Althouse in Google Reader and get the Cenegenics ad? The 72 year old man who has a body like like The Rock?

PaulR said...

I can't take a chance with CR because of the male side effect of lower libido as mentioned on page 5 of this NY Magazine article on it. http://nymag.com/news/features/23169/

John Lynch said...

Anyone thought about how one is supposed to work on 600 calories a day?

How would you have the energy to do much of anything?

I suppose if you are retired, or work in an office, but a physical job would be impossible. Especially in the winter.