Who never entertained the thought of eternal life, right? While we´re not quite there yet, increasing evidence is pointing to a rigorous dietary regimen called calorie restriction, which could possibly prolong our live spans by half.

Calorie restriction refers to a dietary plan where calorie intake is reduced to the bare minimum, without incurring malnutrition. It essentially means eating only what you need to get you through the day without skipping essential nutrients. While this is very rarely the case in our societies today, numerous animal studies reported overwhelmingly beneficial implications from this kinds of diets. These include retardation of some chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer, while at the same time increasing the life span in many animals by as much as 50%.

The rationale behind the benefits of this extreme dietary approach is still not well understood, although the general consensus is that it triggers higher insulin sensitivity within an organism. This in turn provokes a lower occurrence of the hormone insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which has frequently been linked to development of age-related diseases.

So far so good, but we all know humans are not exactly rodents or nematodes. Luckily, there are many studies already underway with human participants that will hopefully shed more light on the functionality and safety of caloric restriction for us as well. The results gathered so far do indeed look promising.

Find out more about the beneficial effects of calorie restriction diets in the video below.



By Luka Zupančič, MSc, University of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna

4 replies
  1. Luka Zupancic
    Luka Zupancic says:

    Dear Anna,

    thank you for your interesting comment. You are right, there are still some inconsistencies in rodent and human studies, which could be expected to some point.
    There is still a lot of speculation around what causes this jump in IGF-1, however the current consensus seems to be, that excessive calorie intake is definitely responsible to some extent.
    Will be interesting to see what future studies show.

  2. Anna
    Anna says:

    Hi. In the video the co8nclusion Is made that protein itself may cause the increase of IGF-1!levels. And not the caloric restriction.
    Is it protein regardless of the source, or only protein intake from meat and dairy products?

    Thank you for interesting reading.
    Kind regards Anna

  3. Luka Zupančič
    Luka Zupančič says:

    Dear Paul,

    thank you for your comment. The study you posted is definitely interesting and does support the hypothesis of this article, yet it is only limited to the rhesus monkey. I find the fact that CR has been proven beneficial in numerous animals perhaps more credible and had chosen to rather include a comprehensive review article on the topic. The review includes studies on more than six different species (monkeys included) while also speculating the implication it might have on humans.

    I invite you to read further on, where another review from 2013 is referenced, which indeed discusses the effects of CR in rhesus monkeys and in humans, along with a study on the role of IGF-1 in chronic and age-related diseases in mice from 2012.

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