Can a Low Calorie Diet Help You Live Longer?

Mary Gonzalez's picture

Low calorie diets are the rage nowadays. With Weight Watchers everywhere and many products catering to the low calorie dieter, it’s not uncommon to see people grabbing for them in the supermarket aisle, hoping to shed a few pounds over several weeks. This question being posed here though, is not whether a low cal diet can in fact help you lose weight (as it seems fairly apparent that it can when applied steadily) but could it have another potential health effect – that is, make you live longer? A recent study raises this issue and brings it to light.

Low Calorie Diet – The Study

In June 2009, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies were able to single out a pair of enzymes they believe work cooperatively to enhance the well being of an organism on a low calorie diet. When they performed their experiments on round worms, they noticed that worms that possessed only one of the enzymes would not exceed their expected lifespan, while worms that possessed both did.

What Does This Mean for People?

Although researchers are not entirely clear about how low calorie restriction promotes a longer lifespan there are numerous studies that appear to support this theory – studies that have been conducted in various types of animals. Researchers do know that along with genetic factors such as the identification of these enzymes, there are other factors that tend to promote whether one lives a long life or not. Interestingly, the other factors include: obesity, insulin and its growth factor, along with calorie restriction.

What Can You Do?

When pursuing any diet, it’s important to maintain a healthy approach, and this may include involving your doctor when it comes to changing your diet. With respect to a low calorie diet, many people are opting for this avenue to lose weight. There are certain side effects which everyone should be aware of when pursing this diet – the most dreaded perhaps are fatigue and hunger.

People who are obese may wish to opt for the very low calorie diet, which severely restricts your caloric intake to 800 calories a day, but which has also been successful in helping severely obese people lose weight quicker.

Conclusion
Any diet should be looked at for its pros and cons. We would hope that more people would give any diet’s health benefits a greater weight than say other more narcissistic benefits, but we can not blame anyone who wants to look, and feel good as well. Choosing a diet method is a very personal choice, and there is a lot of information to sift through to make an informed choice. Take your time and look for those diets that not only give you the opportunity to lose weight, but will also add additional benefits to your life as well. If a diet can possibly contribute to a longer lifespan, it’s something worth noting.

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