Slowing down the aging process is the holy grail for many people who fear death. So far, studies have shown that reducing the caloric intake among animals can make them live longer, but these types of studies haven't been done on humans — until now.
Scientists recently found that restricting the number of calories can also slow down the aging process in humans.
Slowing Down Aging
A new study published in Science Direct shows that when people cut down their caloric intake, their aging process will slow down, and so will their metabolism. The study was done by researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The researchers were able to find 53 volunteers between the ages of 21 and 50 none who were overweight. For the research, they had to cut down the number of calories they ate by 25 percent during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. One-third of the participants ate their normal meals, all of the others had their calories restricted for two years.
Those who cut down the calories have lost on average of 25 pounds during this time. Those who didn't change the way they ate gained as much as four pounds.
To test whether this diet affected the aging process, participants who cut calories would be put into special rooms that measured metabolic rates by using gas, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. Scientists measured how it changed over time for 24 hours.
Participants who were cutting calories had a slow metabolism, but it was more efficient. This was explained by the lead author of the study, Leanne Redman, by saying that cells are using less oxygen to generate energy so they become more energy-efficient. She adds that oxygen can be damaging to tissues and cells. In other words, the less oxygen stored means there will be less damage.
Other Effects That Slow Down Aging
While these findings show some effects that slow down aging, there are also other effects from the diet that prevent diseases that cut life short. In the study, participants who cut their calories were found to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. People with high levels of any of those are at risk for life-threatening diseases.
In order to prove that a lower amount of calories would make people live longer, scientists would have to track people throughout their lifetimes. This study focused on the effects of aging and not the weight loss of the participants.