You are what you eat. And what you eat will either take away years of your life or help prolong it a few years more. That is of course, along with some good exercise and a healthy lifestyle. And some scientists say, with good genes.
Good and bad calories: aren’t they all the same?
The answer is no. There are calories originated from fats and proteins and the ones from carbohydrates (starches and sugars). While calories from fats and proteins are essential to our body’s functioning by helping to produce hormones – to reach mental and physical well-being – as well as helping to restore cells in our bodies, carbohydrates are also essential in energy production and storage.
Does this mean you should eliminate carbohydrates from your diet? Not quite. We should all have a balanced diet that respects our metabolism. Do you have a slow or fast metabolism?
Does caloric restriction help promote longevity?
According to a 25-year study from the University of Madison-Wisconsin, published in Nature Communications (2014), using rhesus monkeys to study two groups with caloric restriction and another one where they could eat as much as they wanted to, found significant differences. The monkeys in the non-restrictive group have 2.9 times probability of developing more age related diseases and a three-fold risk of death.
Authors of this study believe that many of the effects that a caloric restrictive diet might have on the developing of diseases and higher death risk is also influenced by metabolism – how the body regulates the energy it needs.
On the other hand, a study conducted by the National Institute of Aging (2012) published in Nature found that feeding monkeys with less 30% calories did not affect their life span, and it was more up to genetics and a healthy diet.
Where does that leave us?
These two studies have a few methodological differences. Researchers of both studies are now trying to aggregate data from both to reach a conclusion. But it seems the monkeys in the “free eating group” from the University of Madison-Wisconsin were on a less healthy diet, making those who were on a restrictive caloric diet seem healthier.
As we all know, if we have an unbalanced diet that doesn’t respect our metabolic needs, we will store unneeded fat and probably become obese. Which in turn will bring many age related complications and illnesses such as diabetes for instance. The same will happen if your diet does not provide with the nutrients with we need. As we grow older, we need to adapt our diet to conform to age related needs in order to prevent diseases.