Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cut Calories: One Way to Live Better and Longer

Jeff Miller of the University of Wisconsin-Madison caught Canto and Owen on camera for the NY Times Science News today. "Canto, left, a rhesus monkey, is aging fairly well at 25 on a calorie restriction diet. Owen, though only a year older than Canto, is frail and moves slowly. He eats a normal diet."

Thanks to Michael Mason, who wrote about the research at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. We've all heard about calorie restricted diets for quite some time and some good indicators about improved overall health have come out of the research. But now, it's beginning to look more real. Mason says it best, "In the last year, calorie-restricted diets have been shown in various animals to affect molecular pathways likely to be involved in the progression of Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, and cancer." Some researchers are beginning to say this approach is even better than exercise at preventing or delay typical age-related diseases. Of course, a balanced diet is critical, even with restricted caloric intake of about 30% below typical levels, and must include the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Pushing away from the table sooner is looking better and better.

The article goes on to discuss other ways of extending the quality of life and longevity with the idea that slowing down aging also slows down diseases, such as heart disease and Alzheimer's.

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