Would You Like to Live Longer?

In the middle ages alchemists strove to solve “the mystery of immortality” with the “Philosopher’s Stone” and searched for the elusive “elixir of life”. They believed that through the application of alchemical processes, the physical body could be maintained through infinity, not dying by any natural diseases, only finding an end through the physical destruction of the body. Theoretically, they argued, if one could stay out of harm’s way one could live forever! Even the Bible tells us that God created man with “eternity in his heart” (Eccl 3:11) … and when we consider we use as little as 3% of the capacity of our brains, this verse has clear evidence to support it. But whatever our personal religious convictions are, the fact is science has still not found any way to prevent death. In fact the only known way to dramatically increase our life span is through careful food management. Literally hundreds of studies have been carried out in many animal species (including insects,fish, rats and cats) that have all have concluded that reduced caloric intake is the only experimental technique that consistently results in extended life span.  

Experiments with mice have proved time and again that those animals which eat fewer calories live longer. A study published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy” clearly showed that restricting calories by 30 percent significantly increased the lifespan of monkeys. Decreased levels of triglycerides and increased HDL (“good cholesterol”) were consistently observed. Similar studies on many other species of animals confirmed  that almost all animals that are fed less, live longer. Another finding, of great interest to those of us who pamper our pets … allowing an animal to eat as much food as it wants can shorten its lifespan by as much as one half!

So what are the benefits of a  high nutrient, low calorie diet? 
Hundreds of scientific studies have shown:
– resistance to experimentally induced cancers
– protection from spontaneous and genetically predisposed cancers
– a delay in the onset of late life diseases
– none appearance of atherosclerosis and diabetes
– lower cholesterol and triglycerides and increased HDL
– improved insulin sensitivity
– enhancement of the energy conservation mechanism including reduced body temperature
– reduction in oxidative stress 
– reduction in parameters of cellular ageing including cellular congestion
– enhancement of cellular repair mechanisms, including DNA repair enzymes
– reduction in inflammatory response and immune cell proliferation
– improved defences against environmental stresses 
– suppression of the genetic alterations associated with ageing
– protection of genes associated with the removal of oxygen radicals
– inhibited production of metabolites that are potent cross-linking agents
– slowed metabolic rate. 


So it can be clearly seen that the link between thinness and living longer, and the connection between obesity and a shorter life span is undeniable. The animal studies mentioned earlier, also highlighted the fact that fat and protein restriction play a big role in lengthening life span. The National Academy study stated “higher fat and higher protein intake accelerates hormone production, speeds up reproductive readiness and other indicators of ageing and promotes the growth of certain tumours”. For example, increased protein intake has been demonstrated to raise insulin like growth factor (IGF -1) levels which are linked to higher rates of prostate and breast cancer.  

But what about all the products that are presently commercially available that claim to be able to lengthen our lives? Like the ancient “elixir of life” produced by the alchemists of old, all modern “pills and potions” and longevity theories are conjectural and unproven. Modern “alchemists” suggest taking hormones such as oestrogen, DHEA, growth hormones, melatonin and a whole host of nutritional supplements. All available evidence suggests that supplying the body with nutritional elements over and above what we can obtain from a disciplined, nutrient rich diet will not prolong life. The evidence however, regarding overeating high calorie food (esp empty calorie food) is overwhelming. Over eating high calorie food makes it impossible to achieve optimal health and to maximize your life potential.  

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