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Thread: Calorie-Restricted Diet

  1. #1 Calorie-Restricted Diet 
    Forum Professor Obviously's Avatar
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    Supposedly, a calorie-restricted diet is healthy and can extend your lifespan (just so we're clear, calorie-restricted diet is not equivalent to nutrition-restricted diet, which is definitely detrimental).

    Let's bring some scientific literature to this discussion:

    Calorie restriction and aging: review of the literature and implications for studies in humans

    Sirtuin activators mimic caloric restriction and delay ageing in metazoans PDF file

    Methionine-deficient diet extends mouse lifespan, slows
    immune and lens aging, alters glucose, T4, IGF-I and
    insulin levels, and increases hepatocyte MIF levels and
    stress resistance
    PDF file

    Effect of 6-Month Calorie Restriction on Biomarkers of Longevity, Metabolic Adaptation, and Oxidative Stress in Overweight Individuals

    There's probably more studies done, but I don't want to quote all of them. I acknowledge that I probably don't understand half of what is talked about in these articles, and I have more or less skimmed the results and conclusions.

    If I understand correctly, a calorie-restricted diet has many benefits. What are/could be detrimental effects from such a diet? I seem to recall a weakened immune system might be one, but I'm not sure.

    Should this kind of diet be encouraged for the public? Especially considering the growing threat of obesity?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    It's a little too early, I think, to be recommending CR to people without any conclusive studies on the benefits in humans. Now there are groups of people out there trying it out, and I think a long-term human study is worthwhile. It's probably really difficult to get a decent sized group of people to live this way, without significant deviation, for several years.

    I'm sure someone will do it eventually, but I don't envy the headaches involved.


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  4. #3 Re: Calorie-Restricted Diet 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    What are/could be detrimental effects from such a diet?
    For one thing, you'd be hungry all the time.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor Obviously's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    It's a little too early, I think, to be recommending CR to people without any conclusive studies on the benefits in humans. Now there are groups of people out there trying it out, and I think a long-term human study is worthwhile. It's probably really difficult to get a decent sized group of people to live this way, without significant deviation, for several years.

    I'm sure someone will do it eventually, but I don't envy the headaches involved.
    There are groups of people, or clubs, which have practiced such a diet if I'm not mistaken. I can't remember too much of it though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    For one thing, you'd be hungry all the time.
    So hunger and headaches are normal side-effects, and these side-effects don't go away after a while when the body starts getting used to the diet? I guess only more research can answer that question.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Masters Degree samcdkey's Avatar
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    I don't see the point of calorie restriction beyond what is required to maintain energy balance, if you eat less than you expend, you'll break down muscle. There is no debt in the energy world. It will take your pound of flesh if you cannot pay up. Mercilessly, even if it kills you.
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  7. #6 Re: Calorie-Restricted Diet 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    What are/could be detrimental effects from such a diet?
    For one thing, you'd be hungry all the time.
    Grouchy, cranky, miserable.

    Perhaps you would be more likely to not ingest enough vitamins. Scurvy and other vitamin deficiencies may crop up.
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  8. #7 Re: Calorie-Restricted Diet 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    What are/could be detrimental effects from such a diet?
    For one thing, you'd be hungry all the time.
    Grouchy, cranky, miserable.

    Perhaps you would be more likely to not ingest enough vitamins. Scurvy and other vitamin deficiencies may crop up.
    Indeed, vegetarians and vegans have a hard enough time eating properly, I can just imagine how hard CR is. However, I think these diets usually include vitamin supplements to prevent deficiencies.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Masters Degree samcdkey's Avatar
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    For vegetarians its not much of a problem, you just need vitamin B12 supplements [and if your food is not too clean, well the microorganisms will supply that].

    With vegans, yes, the lack of dairy will result in issues of calcium, high biologic value protein, vitamin D, folate and many other deficiencies.

    It probably one of the hardest dietary regimens to follow and maintain health with, apart from macrobiotic diets.
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  10. #9 Re: Calorie-Restricted Diet 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    What are/could be detrimental effects from such a diet?
    For one thing, you'd be hungry all the time.
    That's true, though feeling hungry has not been found detrimental to physical health. One does grow used to it, much as one who spends a lot of time in the cold grows used to feeling cold. One also extracts nutrients from a meagre diet much more efficiently. This probably approximates the natural range our bodies are optimized to function within.

    I've hypothesized (not simply because I think it "natural") that hunger is a useful sense which reveals nuances only if we "leave it open" to awareness and experiment. The modern habit, because we have the luxury, is to shut down this sense and keep it shut. We are not very keen in this way. Bluntly: we have nearly lost an entire one of our senses.

    Among some Pacific Coast Natives there's an interesting word, chumus, that means "adequate and complete nutrition". It's used where English speakers would say "I'm full." So what the Natives say, and mean, is precisely what nutritionists want to hear. Although children since British trade began corrupted the meaning to also mean candy, reflecting their immature sense of nutrition.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  11. #10  
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    Calorie restriction is good, as long as the calorie selection is nutritionally sound.

    Otherwise it is difficult, if not impossible, for most people to eat badly and restrict calories.
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