My New Diet
I started a new diet about a month and a half ago. It is called the CR diet, which stands for calorie restriction diet. The purpose of this diet is not to loose weight, while loosing weight is usually a side effect of this diet. The purpose of this diet is to eat more nutrient packed foods and then slowly overtime focus on reducing my caloric intake to a the minimal healthy level. Up until now I have not really worked towards reducing calories, but that has happened as a side effect of eating nutrient rich foods. I am finding myself full after eating large amounts of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; however, I even the large amounts of these foods aren't as many calories as I used to eat of my old foods. Because of this I have started loosing weight on this diet without even trying. This is a first for me.
Eventually this diet transitions to reducing calorie intake, but I don't want to do this too suddenly. I've decided a healthy rate of weight loss for me is 0.5 to 1 lbs a week. I don't want to loose weight too fast because fat holds environmental toxins that your take your body a long time to process so loosing weight to quickly will actually poison your body. Also fast weight loss weakens you muscles (including your heart muscle). Obviously fast weight loss isn't going to kill me since millions of Americans loose weight quickly each year; however, it does seem that it's unhealthy so I'm going to avoid it.
So what does this healthy, but low calorie diet do for me? Well in numerous animal studies with species across the animal kingdom it drastically reduces cancer and heart disease. It also reduces the chance of getting most other big disease that afflicts humanity. One thing it also has done for animals is extend their maximum life span. For instance lab rats that were put on this diet would live on average 60% longer, and have a maximum life span that's about 60% longer too. From everything I've read, reducing calorie intake while eating a healthy diet is the only known way to improve the maximum age of these animals. There are other drugs that can improve average age such using blood pressure controlling drugs to reduce a rat's changes of dieing from heart disease. However, nothing seems to improve average age as much as the CR diet. There are now human studies of the CR diet being conducted and everything looks very positive, but final results will take a long time because humans live so long.
You're probably wondering how these animal's that lived 60% longer lives actually lived. They lived more energetic lives, which really surprised me. I had thought that animals that got less food than they wanted would become sluggish, but that was not the case. They also slowed down aging of their mind and body. It was shown in many tests that the CR diet mice could perform as well in a wide variety of tests as much younger normally fed mice. This was what got me really interested in this diet. I had no interest in living a long life if it meant living it as an old person, but this showed me that this diet could keep me young longer which I am interested in obtaining.
There are a lot of theories about why the CR diet makes you live so long. I'm going to discuss just one of them here that made a lot of sense to me. In nature it is not a great benefit to a species to live extraordinary long lives. Evolution favorites a species that can reproduce and then have those offspring take over. However if times are hard and food is scarce it benefits a species to slow down aging and weight out the tough times. This idea is shown in the fact that the almost all the CR diet rats could still reproduce after every last one of the normal diet rats had died.
I've read some great books on this subject like Beyond the 120 Year Diet: How to Double Your Vital Years and The Longevity Diet. Here is a website that has a lot of good information. What I've mentioned here is really just a very brief description of the CR Diet and its benefits. These sources offer many more details and I'd highly recommend them to anyone interested even if you don't think the CR diet is for you.
I haven't made a new year's resolution in many years, and have even criticized the idea of them in the past because most people who make them don't keep them. However a risk of failure shouldn't be a reason to not being open about your goals. So here it goes... My new year's resolution is to continue learning about nutrition throughout 2007 and apply it to my life. I will try to slowly drop my current weight of 161 (BMI of 23.1) to 130 (BMI of 18.7). When I started this diet I weighted 170 so I've already lost 9 pounds in the first month and a half (this was a little too fast and I have slowed my weight loss down).
Happy New Years!