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Eat poorly and prosper

The Washington Post (rr) reports on a research finding that eating very little is good for you.

A small group of people who are drastically restricting how much they eat in the hope of slowing the aging process have produced the strongest support yet for the tantalizing theory that very low-calorie diets can extend the human lifespan.

You have to scroll down a ways to find out just how drastic a restriction we’re talking about here. Turns out to be something between 1100-1950 calories a day for men.

The research began with the discovery of a group called the Calorie Restriction Society.

As in all things in life, there is a tradeoff. You may live longer but along the way, some of life’s pleasure is a bit diminished:

Dean Pomerleau, 39, a computer engineer from Gibsonia, Pa., cut his daily caloric intake from about 3,000 calories a day to about 1,900 more than four years ago. Pomerleau eats a highly regimented diet that consists of the same two meals daily of nothing but fruits, vegetables and nuts, with a couple of cups of non-sweetened herb tea for snacks.

I seem to have a very different concept of a “snack.” When I think of a snack I think of maybe pistachio nuts or a candy bar or at least an apple. The motto of the Calorie Restriction Society is “Fewer Calories. More Life.” I’d say longer, not more, but de gustibus as the saying goes.

Rather than eating less, I’d rather invest in biotech. More calories, more life.

If eating less really does extend lifespan and improve health, it’s another example of the U-shaped relationship between your body and the world around us. No food—death. A little food—good health. Way too much food—death. It’s all hormesis.


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