Eat Less, Live Longer, Stay Younger?
There are a lot of anti-aging theories out there and calorie restricted diets is one of them. As strange as it sounds though, research shows that in people of normal weight, eating less (i.e restricting calories) can help us live longer.
It has to do with those pesky free radicals that are the byproducts of cell respiration. It's a type of oxidative damage--kind of like the rust on your car. Say you have an accident and dent the metal. When the metal gets exposed to the air it begins to rust. If free radicals aren't neutralized (this is what all the hype about antioxidants is about), then cells begin to degenerate and eventually die and death of the cells throughout the entire body is what causes aging.
It's a complicated process, but basically a low-calorie diet causes stress at the cellular level, this stress in turn causes cells to clean house so to speak and repair any damage caused by free radicals thereby keeping them "young"--particularly in muscles like the heart.
A calorie-restricted diet does not mean starvation however, it simply means eating the amount needed to get enough nutrients and no more. Most of us overeat, that is, we consume far more calories than we actually need to exist.
Great news for us middle-aged but wanna-be young again types, eh? Too bad it's easier said than done!