Reducing calorie consumption slows aging: Study

reducing calorie consumptionThere is a never-ending struggle to stay fit and healthy. We try our best to eat the right foods in the appropriate amounts, yet we still find it hard to stay on track. Our main goal for eating better is to keep our body performing at its optimum condition for as long as it can. There is no doubt that everything comes to an end at some point. However, we do as much we can to prolong the inevitable.

New research into the study of aging has made an interesting discovery. It may not only be what we eat but the amount we eat as well.

Eat less and live longer


Researchers at Duke University found that middle-aged adults showed slower biological aging when they reduced their calorie intake. Previously, it was observed that calorie restriction slowed aging in worms, flies, and mice. This recent study aimed to see whether these results transferred to humans.

“Biological aging is the gradual and progressive deterioration of systems in the body that occurs with advancing chronological age. If we can intervene to slow the rate of biological aging, it may be possible to prevent or at least delay onset for many age-related diseases and disabilities,” said study author Daniel Belsky, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University.

The study in question involved 145 participants who, over two years, achieved a 12 percent reduction in calorie intake. A control group was also observed over the same time with no calorie restriction.

Biological age—a measure of how well or poorly your body is functioning—as well as chronological age were compared. At the start of the study, the average biological age of the participants in both groups was 37. Their chronological age was closer to 38. The measure of biological age was calculated using various criteria such as total cholesterol, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels.

Increased calories linked to increased biological age

Over two years, the researchers saw an increase in average biological age of 0.11 years every 12 months in the calorie reduced group. The control group saw an increase in average biological age of 0.71 years every 12 months. This shows that those on a calorie-restricted diet were better at maintaining biological age.

“Ours is the first study to test if caloric restriction can slow measured biological aging in humans in a randomized setting. Our findings suggest a template for developing and evaluating therapies designed to mimic the effects of caloric restriction to ultimately prevent chronic diseases,” Belsky said.

Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.