Caloric restriction without malnutrition–heard of it? Caloric restriction with optimal nutrition (CRON) or the Longevity Diet–these are all terms for the practice of reducing calories over the long-haul, and some studies have shown it to be beneficial in terms of aging and longevity. The practice has been shown to improve age-related health and to slow the aging process in a wide range of animals and some fungi. Pretty cool, huh?
While still inconclusive as to whether long-term caloric restriction can do the same for humans, results so far have been promising. Take a recent study, for example, that has shown caloric restriction improved heart function in obese people with type 2 diabetes. The study analyzed the heart function and pericardial fat (too much can harm the heart) of fifteen obese people with type 2 diabetes before and four months after they started consuming a 500-calorie-per-day diet.
|Age matched monkey (right) on caloric restriction|
Four months after the participants began the low-calorie diet, average BMI fell from 35.3 to 27.5 (statistical obesity begins at a BMI of 30), and pericardial fat decreased from 39 milliliters (ml) to 31 ml. And diastolic heart function also improved, which is a key measure in preventing congestive heart failure (CHF).
“Our results show that 16 weeks of caloric restriction improved heart function in these patients. More importantly, despite regain of weight, these beneficial cardiovascular effects were persistent over the long term.”