The next best thing …

I know I should be studying anatomy right now. In fact I’m pretty sure that anything other than surfing the net for the next fad would be considered productive…but the thought remains (and with it the justification) what if I’m right?

I’m predicting, prognosticating and soothsaying that the next big thing is Caloric Restriction Diets.

So what, you’re thinking (did I tell you I can read minds as well?) don’t all diets call for some kind of caloric restriction? Yes, well…perhaps, but the difference is that this diet will lengthen your life. That’s right – not only will you shed those unsightly pounds and inches but also you will double your lifespan! Incredible, no? All you have to do is eat barely enough to survive! Sounds easy doesn’t it… You can see now why I’m so enthralled with finding out more about this next best thing.

For only $10.17 and the cost of shipping Amazon will send you “The Longevity Diet: Discover Calorie Restriction–the Only Proven Way to Slow the Aging Process and Maintain Peak Vitality” in 4 to 6 weeks. If you want to start counting those calories just search for a “calorie calculator” online. Still not convinced? Well perhaps we can look at the evidence.

Let’s start small – let’s start at the simple but noble Saccharomyces cerevisiae, otherwise known as Brewer’s Yeast. If we look at the literature there does seem to be some evidence that the lifespan of yeast can be extended past what one would expect (how long does brewer’s yeast live for?). In fact there seems to be some evidence that the average lifespan of nematodes, fruit flies, mice and now even monkeys can be expanded by simply reducing their daily caloric intake…interesting. Now there are those humans who want to jump on that longevity train and give up all the evil unnecessary calories that are dragging them to an untimely demise. Will it work?

The inner skeptic says no. The truth of it is that aging as a whole isn’t well understood. If you think about it in purely evolutionary terms there really isn’t a need for individuals past their peak reproductive period. In fact there are theories that propose that once we’re past a certain point, those genes that are expressed to help us propagate and spread our genetic material further begin to take on a more detrimental role. Take testosterone for example. Early in life high levels of testosterone are beneficial, but as men age the same hormones can predispose individuals to cancers as well as other diseases. This is a simplification but so is the overall concept of the “longevity” calorie restriction diet. Simply reducing the amount of calories consumed won’t be enough to increase ones lifespan. If you really look hard there are doubters out there (also here), in fact there are papers which suggest that the connection between calories and longevity are more complex than we realize (without a doubt!). So maybe, just maybe, it’s not as well thought out as it appears at first sight. The Longevity Diet (or Caloric Restriction Diet) will be an interesting fad to watch – will it take off in this world where there are now more obese than starving? Hard to say, but I think you know which way I’m leaning.

My second prediction is that mustaches are on the come back as well, but I’ll leave that for another post.




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