New research shows calorie reduction can boost longevity at the cellular level

It’s well known that calorie reduction is associated with longevity. Some of the benefits are self-evident: weight loss, increased energy. Some of the benefits are by association, like increased longevity with Blue Zone diets that feature lower caloric intake.

But new research from the National Institute on Aging, published in the journal Aging Cell, and reported here, found that with caloric restriction, “genes responsible for energy and metabolism increased, while those responsible for inflammation decreased.” Thus the longevity-promoting benefits were tracked to the cellular level.

Other good news: the benefits could be realized with a relatively modest amount of calorie reduction.

The study analyzed data from a larger calorie restriction study called the Comprehensive Assessment of Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE). “The participants in the study—men and women who were healthy and non-obese—were encouraged to achieve a 25% reduction in calories over two years. While collectively they only averaged about a 12% reduction over the course of the study, they exhibited improved activation of anti-aging pathways overall.”

The article quotes Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, NIA Scientific Director and corresponding author of the study: “This kind of small reduction in calorie intake is doable and may make a big difference in your health.”

(Photo credit: Jacob Wackerhausen at iStock by Getty)

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