The Basics: What you need to know if a few sentences.
Eating less and exercising more is not the answer to looking younger, living longer and being healthier.
A Calorie Restriction lifestyle is based on eating fewer calories, but those calories must include balanced nutrition.
Balanced nutrition with reduced calories improves many aspects of your health as evidenced by measuring biomarkers associated with age and health.
The Calorie Restriction lifestyle is a lifestyle – something you do daily – not a diet – not fasting – not starvation. The lifestyle includes many things besides eating – reduction in stress, exercise in moderation, meaningful relationships and many more.
Calorie Restriction improves your memory, cognition, energy, and protein synthesis.
This blog will concentrate of the Calorie Restriction lifestyle regarding diet choices and nutrition.
The Details: If you really want to know why Calorie Restriction lifestyle works, continue reading.
The American weight loss paradigm is to eat less and exercise more. It doesn’t work in study after study for a myriad of participants. I believe it works to a degree when you are young and without any significant health problems. As you age, your body’s systems begin to degrade and other factors begin to counter the effects of diet and exercise.
Calorie Restriction Lifestyle
Calorie restriction is a lifestyle and not a diet. It should not be confused with restricted calories that might border on malnutrition. Calorie restriction means you restrict certain types of calories and maintain the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your good health. Calorie restriction has been demonstrated in many laboratory studies to improve your well being, your weight and your lifespan.
Stress, oxidation and inflammation impact your health every day. Over time you age, you become less able to do the things you want to do, and your quality of life decreases. You can add healthy and productive years to your life if you can effectively counter the daily effects of stress, oxidation and inflammation. Calorie restriction research has been ongoing since 1935.
Calorie Restriction Mimetics
An alternative to calorie restriction is being investigated called calorie restriction mimetics. Calorie restriction mimetics addresses stress, oxidation and inflammation issues without the reduction in calories. Calorie restriction mimetics foods or compounds must mimic the metabolic, hormonal and physiological effects achieved by calorie restriction with higher caloric intake. Additionally, the increased caloric intake must ensure that the body’s maintenance and repair processes are not interrupted, and the effects of longevity and age-related diseases are reduced. Compounds that have been evaluated as possessing calorie restriction mimetics traits are resveratrol, green tea polyphenols, pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), and branched-chain amino acids.
Calorie Restriction and Longevity
Calorie restriction has been studied for years in the laboratory. Humans have a typical lifespan of 75-80 years. It is difficult to measure generations of humans adhering to calorie restriction for many reasons. As a result, medical researchers study biomarkers that show the progression of aging more slowly. Two of those biomarkers are lower body temperature and lower fasting insulin levels. The lower fasting insulin levels result in lower body fat.
The actual biochemical mechanism of calorie restriction is still being investigated. Laboratory studies project that calorie restriction protects your body against oxidation and inflammation. The key to making calorie restriction an effective anti-aging and weight loss program is maintaining your optimal nutrition with restricted calories. Short-term extreme calorie restriction diets yield weight loss results. However, serious health issues developed, such as anemia, muscle atrophy, neurological deficits and edema, when continued longer than six months.
Calorie Restriction and Health
It is critical to keep your nutritional requirements met when using calorie restriction for health improvement and weight loss. Calorie restriction with optimal nutrition has been shown to reduce your body fat mass, reduce cardiovascular disease, and reduce the risk of diabetes. With an optimal nutritional lifestyle and restricted calories, the biomarkers of slowed aging improve – mitochondrial biogenesis, reduced DNA oxidative damage, improved blood lipids, improved insulin sensitivity, etc to name a few.
Calorie Restriction – Food and History
Eastern medical thought tells you that you should eat when you are hungry. Western medical thought has programmed you to eat several times a day. Today most people overeat. If you are old enough, think back to the size and types of meals that were served in the 1950’s. If you wanted a hamburger, fries and a soda, you usually went to a diner. The size of the burger was typical of the ‘junior’ size in most hamburger fast food places today. The quantity of fries was half to two-thirds the size of a regular order of fries today. The soda was an 8.5 ounce bottle – or 6 to 8 ounces if served in a glass.
Today, a typical hamburger is twice the size (in weight) and in many cases accompanied by another burger. The bun is much larger also. The fries can be supersized and the drink is monstrous compared to the old soda bottles. Most people were satisfied eating that meal back in the 50’s. Today, many people go back for a refill on their soda or a pie for dessert. The caloric intake of that one meal is a multiple of what it was decades ago. The processed food content of today’s meal is also significantly different that the typical meal fifty plus years ago.
Calorie Restriction and Your Eating Habits
Do you really need to eat that much food today at one sitting? I went to a hypnotist for weight loss at a company sponsored event several years ago. I was around twenty pounds over what I weighed in the military when I routinely passed my flight physicals. I was really curious about hypnotism and weight loss. It was interesting being hypnotized and listening to everything going on around me while I was hypnotized. I can remember (I think I can) everything he told us while we were ‘under’ his spell. I learned that each one of you has an internal sensor that tells you when you are full. Most people have been programmed to ignore it.
You reach a point when eating a meal in which you could literally get up and leave, but you don’t. You have been conditioned by your parents and society to eat what is on your plate. If you can’t, you order a doggie bag and take it with you. You can’t let the food go to waste and be thrown out. Your internal sensor occurs about the same time it would have taken you to eat that 1950’s meal. The size and caloric intake meets your body’s requirements for your level of hunger. You should stop, but you don’t.
Calorie Restriction and Your Internal Sensor
The purpose of the hypnotist was to help us reconnect with our body’s internal sensor and to help us push away from our meal, and be satisfied with what we had eaten. I easily recognized my internal sensor; and, I also realized that I had been blasting through my internal sensor many times in the past – literally at every meal.
I notice today that it is still easy to recognize my internal sensor. I look at what is remaining on my plate when my internal sensor trips the alarm and I think about how much enjoyment I am getting from that food. I have to make a decision – right then – to continue eating or to stop. It is a choice to stop eating that I have to make at every meal to keep my body lean and trim, and to continue in excellent health for the rest of my life. It is a habit, a lifestyle, that you should consider adopting.
Calorie Restriction – Plan and Listen
Plan to listen to your body during your next several meals. You will get a subtle feeling that you are satisfied before you finish what is on your plate. You don’t have to eat until you are no longer hungry. You don’t have to eat everything on the plate. That being said, you need to train your mind to order – or to prepare – the right quantity of food for the meal you plan to eat. The right quantity of food must ensure that you are getting the best bang for your dietary buck, so to speak. You need to avoid those empty calories for foods (white flour and refined sugar). You need nutrient-dense foods.
Calories Restriction – Nutrition and Eating
Nutrient-dense foods have a high nutrient to calorie ratio – they are rich in nutrients per calorie. A strawberry is nutrient dense – comparing each calorie versus the vitamins and minerals present. You want to consume foods that provide energy, support tissue growth and repair, and help you to regulate your metabolism. Nutrients are considered to be carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water.
Be careful which Calorie Restriction diets to use. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) recommended by the NIH (National Institute of Health) and the AHA (American Heart Association), provide nearly half the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) of 27 essential micronutrients and completely void in another 15 essential micronutrients. The RDI is the daily level of nutrients considered to be sufficient to meet the requirements of 98% of healthy people in every demographic in the United States.
Calorie Restriction Lifestyle
A Calorie Restriction lifestyle is not a diet. It is a lifestyle choice. If you consider it a diet, then it has a beginning and an end. It will become difficult to maintain over time. You have made lifestyle choices already to achieve your current weight, body fat content and overall health. Your current lifestyle continually maintains your current weight and overall fat content. A Calorie Restriction lifestyle change in your eating habits can start with your current level of eating – total calories.
A true Calorie Restriction lifestyle would be approximately 35% less than what is currently advertised by health professionals as the daily calories needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Calorie Restriction is not fasting or starvation. The key to Calorie Restriction is maintaining optimal nutrition with reduced calories.
Calorie Restriction – Fasting and Starvation
Fasting and starvation do help in the short-term. Fasting and starvation allow your body to begin cell and tissue repair without interruption. Fasting and starvation allow your body to begin generating new cells as it deems necessary. Fasting and starvation allow your body a brief respite from the energy demands of eating, digesting, assimilation and elimination. That energy can be directed to improving your immune system, elimination of toxic waste products, and restoration of your metabolic function.
Short-term results of fasting and starvation are good. However, without the nutrients needed to sustain and improve your health, you will start putting your body in jeopardy. If you choose to enter into a long-term fast or short-term starvation diet, you should consult an experienced health provider knowledgeable in weight management. This is particularly critical if you are on prescribed medicines. Set a realistic goal for weight loss, and for the duration of your fast or starvation plan. Do not extend it yourself because the consequences can endanger your health.
If you do decide on a fasting regimen, it is critical to ensure that the actions you are taking are safe and effective. Juice fasting (fruits and vegetables) and herbal teas offer a better option than water alone. Electrolyte control is maintained better with juices than water alone. Any fast must have the requisite daily vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Gum chewing introduces digestive enzymes into your stomach and can injure your stomach lining since there is no solid food (assuming a juice regimen). Deep breathing exercises help during a fast to provide fresh air to help cleanse your blood.
Water is needed during a fast to maintain proper hydration. Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate. Fasting results in water loss before fat loss. Over time, your body will lose fat on a fast. You need to be conscious of the likelihood of muscle loss during a fast. This is a point to talk to your doctor about to ensure that you do no physical damage during a fast.
Things of concern for your physician or health provider should be the prescription medicines and the other supplements that you may be taking. Contraindications of prescription medicines are known by most pharmacists and doctors, but the relationship of natural supplements and prescription medicines might not be as obvious. Particular attention should be noted with the following: curcumin, trans-resveratrol, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D3, ginkgo biloba, and branched-chain amino acids.
Calorie Restriction Benefits
A Calorie Restriction lifestyle is a permanent choice – not a temporary fast or starvation program. Calorie Restriction lowers your blood pressure and pulse rate, lowers your body temperature, reduces free radicals and blood glucose levels and reduces your risk of chronic disease (cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease). Calorie Restriction improves your insulin sensitivity and DNA repair as well as increases muscle mass. Calorie Restriction stimulates BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) and boosts your DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) levels. Calorie Restriction improves your memory, cognition, energy, and protein synthesis.
Red O’Laughlin aka The Prosperity Professor