Does Eating Less Keep Your Body Younger?

We’re all looking for that fountain of youth, friends, and the search becomes even more intense as we grow older. I’d love to turn back the clock to a time when it was far easier to get up in the morning!

While science hasn’t located that fountain of legend yet, there is some new research suggesting eating less can lead to a longer, healthier life.

One study, published in the ScienceSignaling journal (https://stke.sciencemag.org/content/13/648/eabb2490), took a look at the effects of calorie restriction on the body. In calorie restriction, you limit the number of calories daily without depriving your body of the nutrients it needs or becoming malnourished.

During the study, researchers placed mice in two different rooms. One room had a temperature of 71.6 degrees F, while the other was set at 86 degrees F; the aim of the study was to see how temperature plus a restricted diet would impact lifespan. In both rooms, half the mice were fed a normal diet, while the other half received half the amount of food.

What the researchers found is that the mice who were on the restricted diet in the cooler room had the biggest boost in life-extending factors when the metabolic activity in their blood plasma and hypothalamus were measured. When the researchers dug deeper, they theorized that leucine enkephalin and nitric oxide were responsible for this effect. These were both produced in larger amounts by the mice in the cooler room. Leucine enkephalin is a neurotransmitter that scientists believe controls your core body temperature.

Other studies involving humans have shown that eating less may help to reduce the risk of developing life-shortening conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. This may be attributed to the weight loss that people on restricted diets often experience.

If you’re interest in fasting, which is a type of calorie restricted diet, it’s important to be careful and speak to your doctor before beginning your new diet. When you fast, what you eat must be nutritionally dense to ensure you don’t end up deficient in any vitamins or minerals or malnourished. Plan your meals in advance and focus on whole, healthy foods so you are getting a balanced diet that meets your needs. Avoid processed foods as these are not good for your body and will not give you the nutrition you need.