Try doing a survey and asking people that have gone on extreme diets why they did it.
Most of the answers you get back will more than likely be, they done it because they needed to look good for a holiday, or maybe to help out with an underlying health issue.
If you told them that if they had carried on with cutting their calories on a regular basis, they would not only stay looking great, or keep their good health in check, but they could even liver longer in the process.
Chances are they would look at you all weird and maybe even laugh at you.
For many people the thought that an extreme caloric restriction could have marked anti-aging effects, reducing their risk of age related diseases, would be just plain ridiculous.
But, in reality, it has been established since the 1930’s that laboratory rats that were fed a calorie restricted diet had experienced massively increased lifespans, as well as a much later onset of age related diseases.
Jump ahead seventy plus years and dozens of experiments which have been carried out on mammals all prove that caloric restriction, without going into a state of malnutrition, results in profound life extending effects that translate to slower aging.
Although studies on other animals are a good starting point, it does not necessarily indicate if it would lead to a successful outcome in humans.
There are a few reasons for this:
• Human Beings are Different- animals have a standard activity levels, and results can be extrapolated across entire species.
• There are DNA Differences- things that may work in other animals would not necessarily translate over to humans.
But in saying that, a recent study published in January 2017 provided the most compelling argument to date using rhesus monkeys as the test subjects.
Ok, so what is so special about rhesus monkeys?
Well, it’s the fact that their aging patterns are very similar to humans, allowing them to be studied in ways that can’t be done with other animals.
The monkeys were put on caloric restriction diets for extended periods of time, with one monkey in particular starting at age sixteen, and at the current was time of reporting was aged forty three.
A Rhesus monkey at sixteen is considered to be late middle aged, but his survival to an age of 43 equates to a human being living to around 130 years old.
His current age is a record for the species, proving that caloric restrictions have definite potential for extending the life of humans as well.
There is a bit of an issue for most people that want to try a calorie restriction regime and that basically involves sticking to the program.
Especially as it will involve cutting back on their normal daily intake by around 25 to 50% of the calories they are used to eating.
This simply means the number of people who are actually willing to continue on the diet may be extremely low, especially when they’ve grown accustomed to eating large, filling meals for most days of their life.
But there is a bit of a way around this.
It just so happens that another study that was conducted, that investigated a fast-mimicking diet, which is performed for just 5 days a month, for 3 consecutive months, and is considered much safer and feasible, as it is still able to contribute towards the effects of aging quite significantly.
In this study, which was conducted on humans this time and not monkeys, the calorie restrictions were set at 50% on the first day, then 70% for the next 4 days.
Although this shorter time scale made the process much more practical, apparently it was still not deemed to be easy, because 25% of participants dropped out.
But for the participants that stuck it out, there were marked benefits to subject’s health following the third month of the study, and persisted for at least 3 months afterwards.
The benefits that were observed included:
• Decreased Levels of Body fat
• Better Blood Glucose Values
• Improved Blood Lipid Readings
• No Wastage or Decrease In Muscle Mass
The results could be noticed more in the unhealthy or obese subjects, but it was noted that they would more than likely have to repeat the fasting pattern every month until normality was achieved.
Participants who were of a normal weight would most likely repeat the fasting pattern twice yearly.
The results this far looks promising, and seem to offer a better alternative than a life filled with medication and disability.
If the results are duplicated (fasting for just 5 days a month), it might be worth the effort.
Don’t go overboard if you plan to restrict your calories, because malnutrition may not be far away.
AND REMEMBER: you should always check with your doctor before doing any fasting or going on any extreme diet.