How does eating less slow down aging? Eating smaller portions doesn’t just help you lose weight – it can do so much more for your health.
There are so many products out there with promises of younger looking skin and less wrinkles. The truth is, true anti-aging comes from within. There is only so much that creams and lotions can do.
New research from Brigham Young University shows how reducing calorie intake can reduce aging within cells. The researchers discovered that when ribosomes (the cells protein makers) slow down, aging slows down as well. The decreased speed of the ribosomes allows time for repair.
“The ribosome is a very complex machine, sort of like your car, and it periodically needs maintenance to replace the parts that wear out the fastest,” said Brigham Young University biochemistry professor and senior author John Price. “When tires wear out, you don’t throw the whole car away and buy new ones. It’s cheaper to replace the tires.”
So how does eating less slow down aging?
The researchers observed two groups of mice. One group was given all you can eat access to food, while the other was restricted to 35 percent fewer calories, while still getting all essential nutrition.
“When you restrict calorie consumption, there’s almost a linear increase in lifespan,” Price said. “We inferred that the restriction caused real biochemical changes that slowed down the rate of aging.”
This is not the first study to link fewer calories and anti-aging, but it is the first to show how eating less can slow down ribosomes.
“The calorie-restricted mice are more energetic and suffered fewer diseases,” Price said. “And it’s not just that they’re living longer, but because they’re better at maintaining their bodies, they’re younger for longer as well.”
“Food isn’t just material to be burned — it’s a signal that tells our body and cells how to respond,” Price said. “We’re getting down to the mechanisms of aging, which may help us make more educated decisions about what we eat.”
Eating Less and Telomere Health
Having less on your plate also helps preserve your telomeres and keep you feeling younger, according to a mouse study from Spain.
The study found that young mice fed fewer calories across most of their lifespan were healthier and had longer telomeres. In addition, the calorie restriction combined with greater levels of telomerase—the enzyme that maintains the length of telomeres—led to increased mouse “health span” and longevity.
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The study was published in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics.
1. “How Eating Less Can Slow the Aging Process.” Brigham Young University. Brigham Young University, 16 Feb. 2017. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
2. “Mechanisms of In Vivo Ribosome Maintenance Change in Response to Nutrient Signals.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, 01 Feb. 2017. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.