Diet can play a crucial part in your overall health. It’s no surprise then what you put inside your body can affect your longevity. Which diet is best avoided?
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen state: “Restricting the intake of calories has been practiced as a method for increasing both the length and quality of life for over 500 years.”
Basing their research on animal studies over the past 100 years, they’ve concluded that “lifelong caloric restriction may extend life by up to 50 percent in rodents”.
The researchers added: “This effect is matched by profound impacts on age related diseases, including reduced risk of cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.”
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It’s important to note that “most data about the effects of calorie restrictions in mammals comes from work on rodents”.
Guidelines from the NHS state the general recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men.
The national health body adds: “Calories are a measure of how much energy food or drink contains.”
The amount of energy somebody needs depends on how active you are.
Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine shifted the focus of calorie restriction to humans.
They concluded: “Data from human studies indicate that long-term calorie restriction with adequate intake of nutrients results in a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
However, the researchers do state that it’s possible that the benefits the practitioners experienced while restricting their calorie intake could be because of the high-quality, vegan diets they consumed.
Both studies imply that the secret to longer life may be to avoid overeating.
How do I know how many calories are in my food?
Calories are usually written as “kcal” or “kJ” on the nutrition label found on food packets.
This can be found under the “energy” heading. Be aware, though, most calories are given per 100 grams or 100ml, and so don’t refer to the calories found in the whole packet.
The NHS have a calorie checker that can tell you how many calories there are in over 150,000 different foods and drinks.
Apps are also available to download to track your calorie intake.
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Restricting your calorie intake may help to reduce excess body weight and belly fat – both of which are linked to shorter lifespans.
The NHS weight loss plan recommends a daily calorie intake of 1,900kcal for men and 1,400kcal for women.
Exercise is also a vital part of shifting some extra pounds.
The NHS suggests 150 minutes of moderate activity every week.
If you suffer from any health conditions, please discuss any weight loss plans with your doctor.
Your GP will be able to advise you on the best way for you to lose weight, if it’s needed at all.
The NHS also have a wealth of information on weight-loss diets.
It states the safest weight-loss journey will see you lose up to 2lbs (two pounds) in a week.
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