Health Beat

Health Beat: Caloric restriction is a win-win

Health Beat: Caloric restriction is a win-win

PHILADELPHIA - Dr. Jean-Pierre Issa conducts research into caloric restriction and its impact on mice. He is focused on the long-term effects on stem cells.

"So if our stem cells remain healthier, then they are more available to repair tissues, to fix injuries, to fix heart attacks, and to live longer," explained Issa, a professor of medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Calorically restricted mice, at least some of them, not only live longer but show fewer signs of aging.

"In mice, you can look at their fur, look at their hair. As in humans, it changes color with age, but in mice that are calorie-restricted, it retains a youthful appearance," Issa said. "The calorie restriction seemed to somehow promote the health of cells and keep their cellular identity intact."

Katie Myles said her life dramatically improved after following a calorie-restrictive diet to lose more than 29 pounds. As she keeps the weight off, her energy is much higher and she doesn't miss the calories at all.

"I was listed to take 2,000 calories a day, and as I calculate that now, I noticed yesterday, I had 800 and some calories and I still felt full," Myles shared.

Myles journaled during her weight-loss journey about her food intake. What does she suggest to others about calorie restriction?

"Please embark on a change, because when we realize that all of the carbohydrates and all of the calories that we take in, if we don't burn it, we're going to store it, and it's going to make it more difficult for our body to be agile and to be able to walk around and do the things we need to do," said Myles.

Fewer calories means less weight and lower blood sugar. Healthier stem cells delay aging. It's a win-win.

Issa said stem cells impact the length of our lives, but inevitably over a period of time, they begin to fail. In other words, life still doesn't last forever, caloric restriction or not.

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