Study - Low Calorie Diet Keeps Heart Young

  1. Study - Low Calorie Diet Keeps Heart Young

    By JIM SALTER, Associated Press Writer Fri Jan 13, 6:00 AM ET

    ST. LOUIS - A very low calorie diet can help the heart age more slowly, according to researchers who released what they call the first-ever human study on the subject.

    The findings confirmed earlier studies on mice and rats that demonstrate the cardiac benefits of a restricted calorie diet.
    The study looked at the heart function of 25 members of the Caloric Restriction Society, ages 41 to 64, who consume 1,400 to 2,000 nutritionally balanced calories per day. They were compared to 25 people who eat a typical Western diet, consuming 2,000 to 3,000 daily calories on average.
    The result: Those limiting caloric intake had the heart functions of much younger people typically about 15 years younger than their age. Ultrasound exams showed group members had hearts that appeared more elastic than most people their age; their hearts were also able to relax between beats in a way similar to hearts in younger people.
    "This is the first study to demonstrate that long-term calorie restriction with optimal nutrition has cardiac-specific effects that (delay or reverse) age-associated declines in heart function," said Luigi Fontana, lead author and assistant professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.
    The study will be published Tuesday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
    Fontana said simply consuming less food is not the answer. Members of the study group eat food resembling a traditional Mediterranean diet, focusing on vegetables, olive oil, beans, whole grains, fish and fruit. They avoid refined and processed foods, soft drinks, desserts, white bread and other sources of "empty" calories.
    For the general public, the researchers recommend a moderate reduction in calories, combined with moderate, regular exercise.
    Research on mice and rats indicated that life span can be stretched by about 30 percent with stringent and consistent caloric restriction. That research also suggested that restricting calories can help prevent cancer.
    Heart attacks and strokes cause about 40 percent of deaths in Western countries, researchers said. Cancer causes another 30 percent. Fontana said those deaths are attributable to "secondary aging" from high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and other often-preventable conditions.
    While it has long been known that a healthy diet and exercise can reduce risks, the study suggests that caloric restriction combined with optimal nutrition can do even more.
    Fontana said most participants in the study had immediate relatives who suffered heart attacks or strokes, so it was unlikely their genetic makeup was a contributing factor to their unusually healthy hearts.
    "We don't know how long each individual will end up living, but they certainly have a longer life expectancy than average because they're most likely not going to die from a heart attack, stroke or diabetes," said professor John O. Holloszy, who worked on the study. "And if, in fact, their hearts are aging more slowly, it's conceivable they'll live for a very long time."

    I went to the Calorie Restriction Society website and they recommend a daily protein intake of only 0.6-0.8 grams per kg of body weight. What impact does this have on increasing strength and muscle mass? I would hate to be 60 and be a beanpole......
    Also of note is that they only recommend a small amount of Omega-3's daily.....

    But I also would jump at the opportunity to help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, strokes - basically all the "killers" which all run in my family (except heart disease and the diabetes is age-onset type). I know I just don't want to go out from a stupid heart attack or a stroke... relatives died from both and it's a ****ty way to go.

    They also tout that calorie restriction on a long-term scale can actually increase life by upwards of 30%. So instead of living to about 72 like 99% of the men in my family, I can live to be 93!! All things being equal of course...

    Interesting study...

  2. damn we are all screwed here.

    I am willing to eat clean and continue working out 5x/week, but I am not willing to weigh 150#. If I continue my diet and training regiem, I bet I will experience the benefits that those 150# beanpoles would.

    Besides, stem cell technology will probably be here in 20 years to regenerate our hearts, lungs, etc.

  3. lol... I too hope that technology in the future will be able to turn the tide on aging... however, I don't think it's likely. There are too many restrictions placed on science, and as long as the pharmaceutical lobby owns congress, nothing will get done in our lifetime...

    Here's hoping I'm wrong!

  4. you guys are missing the most important part. It was a nutritionally balanced diet of 1400-2000 cals vs. a typical western diet of 2000-3000 cals.
    there are 2 variables in this study, diet type and amount of calories. This study says absolutely nothing. The proper study to prove if a low calorie diet helps you live longer would be: nutritionally balanced diet of 1400-2000 cals vs.nutritionally balanced diet of 2000-3000 cals vs. nutritionally balanced diet of 3000-4000 cals.
    get my drift? of course the group that ate crap is not going to live longer! if you're going to do a study do it right.

    Members of the study group eat food resembling a traditional Mediterranean diet, focusing on vegetables, olive oil, beans, whole grains, fish and fruit. They avoid refined and processed foods, soft drinks, desserts, white bread and other sources of "empty" calories.
    maybe i'm reading this wrong, but what do you guys think?

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