Researchers show that a low-calorie diet keeps people younger

2023-02-15 21:59:06
Researchers show that a low-calorie diet keeps people younger

According to a new study, restricting calorie intake can help slow down the aging process down to your genetic material.

The recommended calorie intake can vary substantially based on things like your height, sex, and lifestyle, but a commonly-cited rule of thumb approximates the recommended calorie intake for women to 2,000 and 2,500 for men.

In the study, scientists at Columbia University, New York, carried out a randomized control trial with 220 healthy adults, asking half of them to cut their calories by a quarter.

They followed the participants’ diet and overall health for two years, taking blood samples at the start of the study, midway through it, and at the end. Looking at key DNA markers, they found a clear difference between those who had cut down on their calorie consumption and those who had not.

Eating less is like giving up smoking

Getting people to eat less isn’t easy. People in the calorie-restricted group had to be counseled and familiarized with how their new portions will look. They were given three prepared meals each day for the first month, so they could get used to it. But even like this, most couldn’t stick to a 25% calorie reduction.

Instead, researchers estimate that most people in the calorie-restriction group only ended up cutting their daily caloric intake by about 12%. But 12% was enough to see the differences.

It’s always challenging to interpret this type of genetic change, but researchers note that the speed of DNA aging was 2-3% slower for the people on the calorie-restricted diet. They say this translates to a 10-15% decrease in the risk of early death. That’s about the same type of impact you’d see in someone who quit smoking.

In day-to-day life, this could carry implications for people who implement dietary strategies such as intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating.

Indeed, previous studies on both animals and humans have also suggested that calorie-restricted diets can have a beneficial effect on health, but this is still insufficiently explored (and is difficult to explore because of the complexity of the involved phenomena).

Source: ZME science


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