Reducing calories by 15% found to slash risk of age-related diseases
04/21/2018 // Zoey Sky // Views

Calorie restriction can do more than help you lose some weight.

According to a study, reducing your calorie intake can help lower the risk of developing age-related diseases.

Results from the study, which was spearheaded by researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, revealed that minimizing your caloric intake by 15 percent for at least two years will help slow aging and metabolism. This can also protect you from age-related disease.

The study, which is one of the first studies that examined how calorie restriction can affect humans, determined that calorie restriction helped minimize systemic oxidative stress, which is connected to several age-related neurological conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Systemic oxidative stress is also linked to other diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Leanne Redman, associate professor of Clinical Sciences at Pennington Biomedical Research and the study's lead author, said that by restricting calories you could slow your basal metabolism. This means that if the by-products of metabolism hasten the aging processes, "calorie restriction sustained over several years may help to decrease risk for chronic disease and prolong life."

The Comprehensive Assessment of the Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE) was the first randomized controlled trial to look into the metabolic effects of calorie restriction in individuals that weren't obese.

Results from the second phase of the study included data from 53 healthy and non-obese men and women. The participants were aged 21 to 50, and they all minimized their calorie intake by 15 percent for two years. The study participants' metabolism and oxidative stress were also measured.


Researchers individually calculated the calorie reductions via the ratio of isotopes absorbed by the participants' molecules and tissues over two weeks. This technique allowed the researchers to accurately determined a weight-maintenance calorie level.

Individuals in the calorie restriction group lost an average of at least nine kilograms (kg). However, they didn't follow a specific diet, and the study wasn't focused on weight loss.

Participants didn't report any adverse side effects like anemia, excessive bone loss, or menstrual disorders. Both of both trials even improved the participants' moods and health-related quality of life.

Professor Redman noted that even people who are relatively healthy can still benefit from calorie restriction. (Related: Why monk fruit is the best sugar substitute yet discovered.)

Calorie restriction lowers core body temperature and resting metabolic rate in lab animals. Professor Redman added that CALERIE analyzed the effects of calorie restriction on aging and not weight loss, and that "fast" or "slow" metabolism are some of the most common topics discussed. She shared that based on mammalian studies, smaller mammals often have faster metabolisms and shorter longevity.

She added that while several factors, like antioxidant mechanisms and dietary and biological factors, can affect metabolism, current theories posit that a slower metabolism is better for healthy aging. She also noted that organisms who burn energy most efficiently have a better chance of increasing longevity.

Professor Redman said that "[the] CALERIE trial rejuvenates support for two of the longest-standing theories of human aging: the slow metabolism 'rate of living' theory and the oxidative damage theory." She concluded, "[the] latter ties overproduction of free radicals to oxidative damage to lipids, proteins, and DNA, leading to chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis."

The other benefits of calorie restriction

Aside from lowering the risk for age-related diseases, reducing your caloric consumption has other health benefits like:

  • Brain protection - Calorie restriction can reduce the risk of brain injury and disease after ischemia, a condition wherein the delivery of oxygen is slowed in one or several blood vessels in the brain. Ischemia can often cause a stroke.
  • Muscle preservation - Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and function, and resistance to this condition is one of the possible age-related benefits of calorie restriction.
  • Weight loss - When combined with regular exercise, calorie restriction can help you lose weight. To lose weight safely, try to lose at least one to two pounds weekly by burning 500 to 1,000 calories via a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and regular physical activity.

You can read more articles about disease prevention and natural ways to look and feel younger at

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