More or Less

The less processed a food is the more nutrient density it tends to have.  In addition, nutrient dense foods tend to be low in calories.  We know that over consuming calories can lead to obesity and can put us at risk for chronic disease.

Also, when our bodies break down food to convert it to energy through the metabolic process it unwittingly creates what is known as a free radical oxygen molecules.  Free radical oxygen can damage cells and lead to aging process and in some cases cancer.

One of the ways dietitians normally advise people to counter the potential damage caused by free radical oxygen is to eat a diet that is based in antioxidant rich plant foods.  The less damage that is caused by free radical oxygen the slower we age.

But research has also suggested another method to slowing the aging process and reducing free radical oxygen damage.  And that strategy is by restricting the amount of calories that we eat.

Although human studies haven’t been as conclusive, studies with various types of animals have demonstrated that by restricting caloric intake the damage to cells is reduced and the aging process slowed. However, even without slowing down the aging process the health benefits of reducing calories and eating a nutrient dense diet are not questioned.

Take a look at the video entitled “Eat Less, Live Longer” from Scientific American Frontiers and hosted by Alan Alda.  The video addresses the concept of eating less to live to be much older.  Do you think that this is a practice that you could adopt?  What amount of calories do you think you could sustain yourself at and is this significantly less than the amount you consume now?

Ames, B. N., Shigenaga, M. K., & Hagen, T. M. (1993). Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 90(17), 7915-7922.

Cohen, H. Y., Miller, C., Bitterman, K. J., Wall, N. R., Hekking, B., Kessler, B.& Sinclair, D. A. (2004). Calorie restriction promotes mammalian cell survival by inducing the SIRT1 deacetylase. Science, 305(5682), 390-392.

Levenson, C. W., & Rich, N. J. (2007). Eat less, live longer? New insights into the role of caloric restriction in the brain. Nutrition Reviews, 65(9), 412-415.

Eat Less, Live Longer [Video file]. Retrieved from
Whitney E., & Rolfes, S.R.  (2013).Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA:Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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