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How Effective Is Calorie Restriction?

Author : Ashton Smith

To those who may not be aware, Calorie Restriction (CR) is a form of planned diet in which calorie intake is reduced and calorie restriction is widely acknowledged as the longevity diet. It is believed that calorie restriction has the potential to increase the lifespan if the right quantities of low calorie food are eaten on a proper schedule.

Calorie restriction is a light diet that does not strain your digestive system. Generally speaking, calorie restriction consists of mainly of fruits, vegetables and low-calorie proteins. Calorie Restriction may guarantee longer life, robust health, reduced blood pressure and a lot of other benefits. But the real picture, it is not all that rosy. Calorie Restriction is a much debated issue and there are many controversies surrounding calorie restriction.

It was in the year 1935 when scientists discovered that calorie restriction has the potential to extend life on earth. But along with this finding came the revelation that calorie restriction stunted body size. Laboratory tests proved that calorie restriction has the capability to increase the lifespan for many species including yeasts, worms, mice, rats, etc.

But experiments with various life forms can be different from tests on humans. Though animal experiments on calorie restriction may indicate increased longevity, it has to be remembered that animals are seldom subjected to the types of stress conditions faced by the humans.

Some research and studies have been conducted to find out why calorie restriction increases lifespan. But it is felt that many years of continued experimentation is needed to arrive at the truth. Honestly speaking, there has not been adequate research done to determine if humans on calorie restriction will live longer.
But the preliminary observations of the physiological changes caused by calorie restriction do indicate that life-extending effects are likely in humans as well. But lest someone misunderstands that intense calorie restriction will not mean that death can be permanently averted - eternal life is not physiologically possible.

This apart, there are some ethical issues involved in applying calorie restriction to humans as food restriction has been used as a form of punishment throughout history. There are dieticians who argue that calorie restriction for humans should start when the child is 2 or 3 years of age and provided all other nutrients in sufficient measure. Again, calorie restriction on a human adult will lead to body shrinkage and the person on continued calorie restriction will weigh 75 pounds as against the normal 150 pounds.

Maybe, such dwarfish humans may live up to 120 years if brought up under ideal conditions. But the larger question is whether such longevity is worthwhile. A fully grown human adult carrying a body size of a 10-year-old child could be a serious social disadvantage. Further research may also be necessary to determine whether shrunk humans with small brains would have the same mental faculties or intelligence as the normal humans. Likewise, there could be many other such grey areas.

Obesity can increase the likelihood of diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases that can shorten life, similarly a very thin body can reduces the reserves needed to survive periods of stress or illness. The future research of calorie restriction on humans for increasing life span must ensure that calorie restriction will not result in stultifying physical growth, arresting human faculties, causing problems arising out of malnutrition, anorexia and death by starvation.

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Submitted : 2011-06-22    Word Count : 616    Times Viewed: 311