Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Calorie Restriction With Optimal Nutrition (CRON) - Life Extension?

It has been know for nearly 80 years that restricting calorie intake leads to an extension of life among most animal species. Many have speculated that the same principles may apply to humans as well, although it is a difficult theory to prove scientifically due to the extreme time frame required to conduct the experiment (in excess of 120 years!) Nevertheless, it is an intriguing theory which could provide many additional, healthy years to one's lifespan.

Calorie Restriction requires that 20% - 30% less calories are consumed below the normal level eaten. For example if 2500 calories are required to maintain a healthy weight, then around 1800 calories would constitute a restricted dietary lifestyle. The other component is to ensure that sufficient required vitamins and mineral nutrients are also included in the daily diet. Naturally this requires the elimination of all junk food in favor of healthful vegetables (mostly raw), minimal lean protein sources, nuts, seeds and oils.

To begin this type of diet, one must proceed slowly. Although weight loss is not the goal here, typically the pounds will come off... be sure to limit to no more than 1 - 2 pounds per week. This is because the body releases stored toxins in the body fat as it is reduced, and losing too rapidly can provide a toxic overload to the body. Once you have followed a health eating pattern for a minimum of two weeks, you will no longer crave the sugars, fried foods and fast foods which make up the typical Standard American Diet (SAD). The most important part of this eating style are the biochemical alterations which immediately occur in the body. Lipid profiles alter toward lower cholesterol ratios (HDL-C to Total Cholesterol and Triglycerides to HDL-C), which are the real indicators of cardiovascular health.

Blood pressure will decline to normal levels and your basal body temperature will typically fall to a level 1 - 2.5 degrees below the 'normal' of 98.6. It is of note that the normal temperature reading is an average established over many years which is an example of the inflammation levels of the average person. Excess inflammation in the body results in higher body temperature. After several weeks of restriction, you will find your morning basal body temperature drop. This is a good indicator that you have already reduced your core temperature and that restriction is having a positive effect.

It is essential to monitor everything that you eat. You cannot follow this lifestyle without knowing the calorie and nutritional content of every item you consume. The best tool to use for monitoring is the free CRON-O-METER (spaz.ca/cronometer/). Enter all foods (and it is important to weigh the foods at first) in this handy tool as you eat. It will provide you with the calorie content as well as the nutritional breakdown. Mix your food choices to get the proper mix of nutrients. You will quickly find that there is no room for any food types which provide little or no nutritional value.

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