1. The JAMA Network Journals reported about a study that showed that calorie restriction is beneficial. This study was published May 2, 2016 and involved 218 subjects, 30% men and 70% women. The body mass index of all participants was in the range of 22 to 28. The caloric intake was restricted by 25% for two years for two third of the subjects. The other third was allowed to eat as much as they wanted. The calorie-restricted group lost 16.7 pounds on average over the two years of the trial. Compared to the control group the experimental group noticed other improvements.
Their sleep improved after one year. They felt less tension and they had a better mood. In addition they had more energy and an improved sex drive. The authors concluded that their study showed that calorie restriction worked. Among primarily overweight and obese persons it improved quality of life, sleep and sexual function. Furthermore the study showed that 25% calorie restriction did not have any negative side effects. Calorie restriction was well tolerated over the two years in a group of healthy adults.
Another study showing calorie restriction is beneficial
2. Another study described an experiment with 150 non-obese healthy men and women. They were aged 25–45 years and were calorie restricted by 25% for 6 months. The study was called CALERIE study and conducted by the National Institute on Aging. It centered around key blood tests that monitored cardiovascular risk factors. Some remarkable blood test improvements were noted. The inflammatory marker C-reactive protein was significantly reduced. Insulin resistance was also reduced. And a decreased LDL cholesterol and increased HDL cholesterol indicated a reduction of heart attack risk. Calorie restriction has been shown in animal experiments to prolong life. These human trials show that calorie restriction works in humans too. However, this is complicated by the fact that we are constantly exposed to food commercials. This invites us to indulge in food, eat more and gain weight. We have to remind ourselves that calorie restriction is beneficial.
Calorie restriction is not a new topic. It has been known in anti-aging circles that calorie restriction prolongs telomeres. Because of this calorie restriction prolongs life. Several animal models indicate also that calorie restriction prolongs life. The two trials described here show that it is feasible to restrict calories by 25% in humans. One trial was done for two years without problems. The other trial showed that within 6 months of a calorie restricted diet many blood tests improved. This proved that the cardiovascular risk indeed diminishes with a calorie-restricted diet. In other words, calorie restriction is beneficial.
This means we should not hesitate to skip a meal and have liquids instead. Alternatively you may want to reduce your calorie intake by 15% to 25%. We won’t “starve to death”, but will improve our health.