According to a recent study, even a small reduction in daily calorie intake promotes general well-being, ensures stronger muscles and stimulates genes that are involved in healthy aging.
A research group from the National Institutes of Health (USA) showed that reducing total daily calorie intake by 12 percent rejuvenates muscles and activates biological pathways important for good health and healthy aging. The results were recently presented in the specialist journal “Aging Cell”.
Eating a lot is part of good manners
Many people in this country are used to eating until they are completely full. Those who invite others are often worried that there won’t be enough food. In many places, a calorie surplus is practically de rigueur. The result: obesity. According to the RKI, 60.5 percent of men and 46.6 percent of women in Central Europe are affected.
When it comes to calories, less is more
Although it is well known that excess pounds can be lost by reducing calorie intake, according to the current study, long-term calorie restriction has much more far-reaching effects on the body, especially if it does not jeopardize the supply of important vitamins and minerals.
Even 12 percent fewer calories have far-reaching effects
Using data from a long-term study (Comprehensive Assessment of Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy), the researchers were able to show that a reduction in daily calorie intake by just 12 percent over two years was enough to activate biological signaling pathways that are necessary for a healthy diet Aging is important.
The same signaling pathways activated by calorie restriction were linked to the delay of age-related diseases in animal models. The current study suggests that the same biological mechanisms are also at work in humans.
“A reduction in calorie intake of 12% is very modest,” emphasizes the corresponding author Dr. Luigi Ferrucci. According to him, this saving is achievable for most people without major restrictions – but can make a “big difference to your health”.
Less muscle mass – more strength
It was already known from other research that people who undergo long-term calorie restriction lose muscle mass, but the remaining muscles gain muscle strength.
In the current study, the team was able to resolve this apparent contradiction for the first time using genetic analyses. The researchers found out which genes were upregulated during calorie restriction and which were shut down.
Fewer calories = less inflammation
For example, genes responsible for energy production and metabolism were upregulated by the reduced calorie intake, while inflammatory genes were downregulated, resulting in less inflammation in the body overall.
“Because inflammation and aging are closely linked, calorie restriction is an effective approach to preventing the pro-inflammatory condition that many older people develop,” concludes Dr. Ferrucci. (vb)