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FabulousFoodBabe

The Calorie Restriction Diet

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If I seriously thought a calorie restricted diet would help me live longer *and feel better,* I might give it a shot. They would have to show me real scientific proof though. I agree, as it is it sounds a lot like anorexia.

The critical difference between a *scientifically* calorie restricted diet and anorexia is that the former contains all nutrients and the latter (I belive) only aims to cut back calories and keep losing weight. Anorexia is one form of mental illness (with comparisons to OCD) and needs medical treatment, it's not one of those things you can choose to snap in or out of. Presumably calorie restriction diet you can choose to do or not do.

Like the newspaper articles show, calorie restriction diets have been shown to have anti-aging effects in the lab animals studied to date (rats, monkeys). Will it work the same way in humans? At the cell level, it may. But I don't know how many humans have had adequately documented CR diets (I mean, in a lab everything is measured and controlled and the monkey can't choose what to eat or not eat, or raid the fridge in the middle of the night, or swallow laxatives, or whatever).

It would be hard among humans practising CR diets to distinguish between those who are mainly interested in health, and those others who are drawn to CR because of some underlying tendency to eating disorders....

Re longevity alone: there are several factors (good genes, good lifestyles, good diet and exercise, etc.) but you'll always find individual examples of centenarians who have broken each one of these rules and yet lived long (didn't Jeanne Calment smoke regularly until just a few years before she died at age 116 or thereabouts ~ 2 years ago?).

Milagai

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Scientists are developing life-extension drugs modeled on ultra low-calorie diets. Harsh "calorie restriction" dramatically extends longevity in many animals, possibly by triggering the body's "starvation response," which redirects cells from reproduction to maintenance. Skeptics' arguments: 1) Thinness increases your risk of death. 2) Models indicate CR might extend human life a year and a half at most. 3) For this you'd subsist on tofu and kale? 4) American can't even stick to moderate diets, let alone this.

Optimists' arguments: 1) Drugs could deliver the same effect as CR without the misery. 2) One drug already shows promise in animals. 3) We could postpone diseases more cost-effectively by slowing aging than by spending money on each disease. 4) We could extend healthy life to 112 years, keeping "old" folks productive.

Slate Magazine ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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4) We could extend healthy life to 112 years, keeping "old" folks productive.
Slate Magazine ...

Please, Lord, no! In the unlikely situation that I live to be 112, I don't want to be productive! I want a setup that includes lots of single malt, a cute gameskeeper and all the smoked salmon and trifle I can eat.

Actually, sounds good right now!


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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The idea of living a healthier life, free of many of the illnesses associated with old age, is appealing ... that said, it would be difficult on a personal level to forego so many of the blessings of this world which are associated with "fine" living ...

and if I lived that long, would I have to deal with the growing problem of Alzheimers and not be aware of who or where I was? :unsure: Alzheimers is 50% more likely as one ages ...

or watching others whom I love and cherish die before me? :sad:

not being able to type and read eGullet daily? :shock:

see Brooke Astor, currently 104 and ...not living well despite her fortune ... :hmmm:


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Good news!

"If we're right about this, it would mean you could have the benefit of restricting calories without having to feel hungry," Sinclair said. "It's the Holy Grail of aging research."

We may not need CR after all! :raz:

Full text of the article on CNN


Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

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Two "elderly" monkeys are compared:  Rudy, who was raised on Calorie Restriction and is actually slightly older, appears to be the picture of health and vitality, with a shiny coat, upright posture, attentive demeanor and smooth skin.  Matthias, who was raised on a normal diet, is stooped and lethargic, with a paunch, sagging skin and thinning hair.

Which one is a pain in the a**, and which one is fun and lives his monkey life to the fullest? Which one will watch me "hog" an entire scoop of ice cream and not sniff that I'm out of control? I really don't care if eating nothing makes you look slightly better or live longer. I care about the quality of the life.

CRD, like anorexia, is a full-time job. I know that anorexia is not a choice. I also know that people on CRDs and those with anorexia share the "I don't have a problem" mindset, as well as the "I look/feel terrific" attitude. Maybe it works for monkeys, but of all the starvers I know, I can't think of one who actually looks good.

The cover model on the magazine looked to me like she'd been Photoshopped.


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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We've all got to go sometime. Better to have a happy life than suffer to live to suffer another day.


KathyM

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Again, I read the article and it suggests that people who calorie-restrict feel their libidos have INCREASED, not the other way around.

Regardless, I can't imagine using up so much time to calculate one's daily intake down to the calorie, with the "correct" percentages of fat, protein, and carbs worked out. I bet all the extra years these people might live due to their fastidious account of food intake are lost anyway, because it takes quite a bit of time to figure out the exact amount of nutrients they're taking in each day.

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Again, I read the article and it suggests that people who calorie-restrict feel their libidos have INCREASED, not the other way around.

Unh....hunh. I can't be arsed to go back to the article to check, but from what I recall, that isn't exactly what they said. They said that the CR guys no longer had a lively, guy-type libido, didn't check out the femmes as a fertile male is wont to do, but still functioned well in the sack. Yeah, when I was starving, I functioned fine once I got started, too. Didn't particularly have an interest unless I was prompted, but nothing was broken...

And I could point to any number of "cutters" on bodybuilding forums -- who while they might not be calculating their nutrients with QUITE such precision, are certainly eating healthy, balanced and nutrition-rich foods within their restricted and hypocaloric intake -- and most of them will bitch at length about how cutting cuts more than the fat off your hard earned muscle, and how the wife/husband/partner hates it.

Regardless, I can't imagine using up so much time to calculate one's daily intake down to the calorie, with the "correct" percentages of fat, protein, and carbs worked out. I bet all the extra years these people might live due to their fastidious account of food intake are lost anyway, because it takes quite a bit of time to figure out the exact amount of nutrients they're taking in each day.

No, not really. This was fancy; I bet they took extra time planning it. I've seen some horrifying things on CR sites, including one guy who lived on a kind of "mush" composed of all the essential things he needed (including blueberries, flax, some kind of meat and various vegetables) all buzzed together and simply weighed out as required. Takes "eat to live" to a whole new level.

Daily, they probably each have pretty set routines.

And, for what it's worth, I think the "diagnostic criteria" for anorexia are somewhat inaccurate, particularly the one about inaccurate body image. That myth of the anorexic who sees a gigantic fatty looking back at her from the mirror is, for many anorexics I've had contact with, just that, a myth. They may not think they look as bad as other people think they do, but believe me, they know they're bony, and love their bones.

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From what I remember, I read this article a few days ago, it seemed that for women there was no real change in sexual libido but, there is a slight decrease for some men. They did however paint this as a good thing by saying that men who had had problems keeping it in their pants were no longer as tempted to stray and were more focused on only their partner and therefore better and more comitted lovers. That is to say that on this diet men are able to have some sexual control!!

ETA: I really should read before I post


Edited by Jenny McClure (log)

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From what I remember, I read this article a few days ago, it seemed that for women there was no real change in sexual libido but, there is a slight decrease for some men.  They did however paint this as a good thing by saying that men who had had problems keeping it in their pants were no longer as tempted to stray and were more focused on only their partner and therefore better and more comitted lovers.  That is to say that on this diet men are able to have some sexual control!!

ETA:  I really should  read before I post

Oh, great! Starve 'em and they won't stray? :shock:

(At first I read your ETA as, "I really should eat before I post." :laugh: Maybe we all should!.)


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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Again, I read the article and it suggests that people who calorie-restrict feel their libidos have INCREASED, not the other way around.

Unh....hunh. I can't be arsed to go back to the article to check, but from what I recall, that isn't exactly what they said. They said that the CR guys no longer had a lively, guy-type libido, didn't check out the femmes as a fertile male is wont to do, but still functioned well in the sack.

You're right. I guess I mistakingly assumed that better performance in the sack = EXCELLENT!!! ( :laugh: ), and disregarded the parts about lowered overall interest in sex.

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From what I remember, I read this article a few days ago, it seemed that for women there was no real change in sexual libido but, there is a slight decrease for some men.  They did however paint this as a good thing by saying that men who had had problems keeping it in their pants were no longer as tempted to stray and were more focused on only their partner and therefore better and more comitted lovers.  That is to say that on this diet men are able to have some sexual control!!

ETA:  I really should  read before I post

Oh, great! Starve 'em and they won't stray? :shock: I prefer to cuff mine with the same lock I use on the refrigerator, so no one else will eat my food.

(At first I read your ETA as, "I really should eat before I post." :laugh: Maybe we all should!.)


Edited by FabulousFoodBabe (log)

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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Again, I read the article and it suggests that people who calorie-restrict feel their libidos have INCREASED, not the other way around.

Unh....hunh. I can't be arsed to go back to the article to check, but from what I recall, that isn't exactly what they said. They said that the CR guys no longer had a lively, guy-type libido, didn't check out the femmes as a fertile male is wont to do, but still functioned well in the sack.

You're right. I guess I mistakingly assumed that better performance in the sack = EXCELLENT!!! ( :laugh: ), and disregarded the parts about lowered overall interest in sex.

Uhhh .. really skinny guy with orange hands. Talk about a lowering of desire!


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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Okay, I confess I skimmed the originally-cited article fairly fast as opposed to reading it line-by-line ... but the daily calorie-counts I saw thrown around--correct me if I'm wrong--were on the order of around 1800 daily for some of the guys, and 1300 daily for some of the women, right?

Well, guess what? I've been eating an average 1400 calorie-a-day regimen non-stop since late January. Only in my case, it's called a medically-sanctioned weight reduction regimen, not all this trendy life-extension calorie-restriction biz.

Now that I've done it for approximately 9 months, I honestly don't see what all the big hairy deal is about sticking to 1400 calories a day. Well, okay, on a certain level I do--because, on a certain level, it is indeed damn difficult. Further, I have had to totally retrain all of my food behaviors, cut way down on my meat and fat consumption and way upped my veg and fruit consumption. On the other hand, I have felt healthier and healthier, seen a marked improvement in my joint pain, sailed through major (and non-weight-related) surgery with flying colors, and have at this point lost about 97 pounds, all positive reinforcement for continuing.

Mind you, when I started that regimen I weighed 334 pounds on a 5'3" frame, so I obviously had a loooooong way to go before anyone started worrying for me about anorexia. So, it might be argued that there's a big difference between what I'm doing now, and what these calorie-restriction/life-extension fanatics are doing, in that I do have a demonstrable amount of weight to lose.

However--to judge from previous (long and tedious) experience with weight loss diets, and from how my metabolism is behaving under my current rates of calorie intake and expenditure, I am pretty certain that once I hit my goal weight and switch to maintenance mode, I will probably need to keep my calorie intake at no more than 1800/day to stay at my desired weight. AND I will probably need and want, for my continued health, to continue eating according to my very USDA food-pyramid-like food plan (with occasional allowed splurges, mind, but I do have to balance those in), which requires a certain amount of planning, and yeah, even measuring to reinforce portion control.

So I ask you all: intentions, life-extension mumbo-jumbo, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and arugula-leaf-counting aside, what is so very different between what these people are doing, and this weight maintenance program my HMO has put me on?

As far as I can see, the only differences are that I don't eat crappy bland disgusting food; I don't subscribe to any aspirations to immortality; and I do plan to stop at a goal weight that most people would still consider chunky and which will still make my doc cluck her tongue over my BMI. (I have had a round of excessively low BMI in my 20s--sanctioned by a nutritionist, as a matter of fact--and it screwed up my health for literally years afterward.)

Long story short: I don't get what-all the big hairy deal is with this "calorie restriction" stuff.


Edited by mizducky (log)

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