Laboratory experiments with animals, mainly rats, have proven consistently that an extended life expectancy, coupled with a vigorously enjoyable life, can be achieved via a strict program of Calorie Restriction (CR). Science confirms that by thoroughly improving the quality, while reducing the quantity, of our diets brings a basket of healthy benefits, including the possibility of increased longevity. This phenomenon has been partially collaborated in a number of human communities, such as the isolated population of Okinawa in Japan, who traditionally deliberately restrict their food consumption below their full appetite by a factor of 10 – 20 %. Typically the inhabitants of these communities live lives that extend from 90 – 100 years, with minimal health problems.
The basis of a CR diet is to provide all the body’s nutritional needs while consuming the very minimum calories. By consistently consuming a daily calorie intake of less than 1,200 for women and 1,400 for men a healthy BMI target of below 18 to 25 is achievable. Supposedly, this results in energetic, long living, but very thin people, who theoretically have more efficient mitochondria – the energy producing units within our cells. It is believed that with the mitochondria being more efficient less free radicals are produced, which in turn reduces the free radical damage to our DNA etc. Thus a mitigating effect on the aging process is achieves, in addition, nutritional studies have shown that people adopting a CR diet have lower blood pressures and lower cholesterol, lipids and insulin levels, which again purports to lower risk factors associated with obesity, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
On initiating a CR diet it is strongly advised to review a daily calorie content which ensures that the diet includes all elements of nutrition, including appropriate proportions of: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Malnutrition must be avoided at all costs. Thus the diet should correctly be termed a CRON diet, which stands for Calorie Restricted Optimum Nutrition.
• Although Calorie Restriction (CR) experiments on animals scientifically prove that such a strict dietary regimen aids longevity by up to 20 – 30 %, it must be pointed out that these laboratory experiments have been conducted on animals continuously from their births till their natural deaths. So such laboratory animals have been exposed and benefited from the strictly imposed CR regimen throughout their entire lives. hence it is unreasonable to believe that you at the age of say 50, 60 or even 70, can belatedly convert to a CR diet and expect the same dramatic longevity extension. However, adopting a near CRON dietary regimen will definitely bring tangible and beneficial results no matter at whatever age you initiate such a nutritional program.