Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Cutting Protein and Calories May Prolong Life

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Cutting Protein and Calories May Prolong Life

Article excerpt

A new study, led by Luigi Fontana and John Holloszy at Washington University in St. Louis, suggests that cutting down on beef and other protein-laden foods might prolong life. These researchers are investigating how nutritious, calorie-restricted diets affect people. No one knows whether restricting calories in people can prolong life, but cutting calories by 25 percent or more from the diets of rodents, dogs, worms, and other animals has been shown to extend longevity.

From the same study group, members of the Calorie Restriction Society voluntarily followed a calorie-restricted diet for years. The participants showed improved cardiovascular health compared with people of the same age who eat 20 to 39 more calories.

In their latest study, eating a high-nutrition, minimal calorie diet did not result in obtaining all the benefits from calorie restriction found in rodents. However, restricting proteins along with calories seemed to imitate the full effect seen in other animals.

This new study focused on the diet's effect on amounts of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). IGF-1 stimulates cells to grow, and higher levels have been linked to cancer. A key step in slowing down the aging process might be to lower the level of the growth factor. …

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