Going Lean? Easy Does It

Submitted by: Helen Kiperchuk

The data is in and it is impressive: you can extend your life span by restricting your caloric intake by at least 30% fewer calories than you need to maintain normal weight for your height and age. Before you plunge in and quickly adopt a drastically reduced diet –– consider two very good reasons why easing into a life of eating less food is recommended.

1) The research, going back to the 1930s, that revealed the effectiveness of calorie restriction on longevity, also revealed that when adult mice were suddenly put on a calorie reduced regimen the results were actually negative – their lifespans were drastically shortened with attendant diseases. However, when the mice were treated to a slow transition to a restricted diet, their lifespans increased. Through the work done by Dr. Roy Lee Walford, a pionee

 

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r in the field of life extension, the recommended transition for humans is a minimum of 6 to 9 months, and, preferably, 1 to 2 years.

2) Another reason for a slow change, coupled with the first, involves fat soluble toxins that your body has accumulated over a period of time. These toxins – various chemicals such as pesticides and preservatives – are ingested from commercially grown and processed foods. Ordinarily these chemicals – accumulated in body fat – are slowly eliminated by the body, but when weight (fat) is lost too quickly, the toxins are flushed into the bloodstream and body tissue too quickly for effective elimination. The result is having dangerously high levels of toxins with potential for diseases, which from a health perspective is clearly to be avoided.

Your goal in a calorie restricted regimen is to eat fewer calories while at the same time making certain your body gets adequate vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients to avoid malnutrition. You do that by replacing calorie-dense foods with calorie-sparse, nutrient-dense foods. For example: instead of a slice of apple pie which contains processed flour, sugar, fat and cooked apples, you choose to eat a raw apple – an organic one, of course.

From a caloric standpoint, the apple pie can pack 350 to 400 calories while a fresh apple will be around 50 to 70 calories with an extraordinary difference in nutrients. The pie may contain cholesterol, a lot of carbohydrates certainly, and an insignificant amount of vitamins and minerals. The apple, on the other hand, contains Vitamins C, B1, B2, B5, B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, antioxidant compounds, fibre, no cholesterol and complex carbohydrates which are bulky for their caloric content like most fruits and vegetables. Ounce for ounce, the fresh apple packs a powerful nutritional punch. There’s good reason why the proverb "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" which dates back to the 19th century is still around.

Unfortunately a lifetime of dietary habits are not easily changed. If you have learned to think of apple pie a la mode as the perfect dessert, it will take time to re-educate your food habits and attitudes. The apple versus the apple pie is only one example of the kind of rethinking that’s required. Use it as a template to evaluate other food choices you make.

Avoid simple sugars and flours which contain very little nutrition for their caloric content. They also have high glycemic qualities which means that your body absorbs them quickly, leaving you wanting more a short time later. Strangely enough, sugar cravings usually disappear when your body adjusts to not having sugar.

By volume and by calories, vegetables are major elements of most calorie restricted and nutrient effective diets. Both green leafy vegetables and non-leaf vegetables contain the highest content of a wide variety of nutrients for their calorie content.

Select your protein and fat sources carefully making certain your protein intake is sufficient but not overly abundant. Your proteins should be complete and balanced – most animal proteins are – and non-animal proteins can be balanced by combining different food families such as legumes (beans) with grains, and rice with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or spinach. Information about such food combinations is widely available.

Finally, there’s a bonus to calorie reduction! German researchers have discovered that the process of caloric restriction (i.e. reducing the body's intake of calories by about 30% in this particular study) greatly improved the human test subjects' memories. At the end of the three month test period, the calorie restricted group of human subjects ( average age was 60) increased their memory test scores by about 20 percent, while the memory performance of the group not on the calorie restricted diet did not change. So cutting calories can not only make you leaner, but smarter too as you make choices for a healthier life span.



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About the Author: The author is a freelance writer, contracted to research and write on Health issues. For more information on Alternative Health visit Herbal Medicine, Integrated Energy Therapy in Montreal or Wholesale Herbal Chinese Medicine

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