Less on Your Plate, That’s a Good Thing!
March 6, 2009
Eat, Drink and be Merry, we used to say. Recent research now suggests it should be Eat LESS, DON’T drink and be Merry.
When it comes to eating and drinking, there’s great news from a recent study that lines up with our current economic situation by recommending not just moderation, but food deprivation. It’s called caloric restriction or CR for short and there is some proof that CR may not only enhance our long-term vitality but also, in a surprisingly brief period of time, as little as a few months, improve our memory.
What was I saying?
Oh yes. What scientists are finding that if we restrict calories consumed each day that it has a markedly positive effect on many major health indicators. Like what? How about increased insulin sensitivity, lower levels of blood glucose and insulin, plus lower serum fat and markers of inflammation, among others
The theory is that CR could also improve the age-related lapse in memory. In the study, one group, the CR group, was given 30% fewer calories per day than they would normally eat. A second group continued with their usual, non-restricted diet, but increased their daily intake of unsaturated fatty acids by 20%. A third control group continued with the diet they usually ate.
After only three months there was a noteworthy improvement in memory scores. Also worth noting were the inverse connection between this increase in memory and lower levels of serum insulin and serum CRP, a common marker for inflammation in the body. (Of course, the scientists do NOT mention how cranky these people were during the study.)
In the second group, on the other hand, neither memory scores nor insulin and CRP levels were different from the control group.
This is awesome. Do you know what this means? If we can’t afford to eat as much food, this could not only help us look and feel better but our memory will be sharper!
I’m looking forward to not being able to afford groceries!
Seriously, calorie restriction is easier said than done but I’m also watching closely what’s developing with the nutrient resveratrol, which was featured on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago. Resveratrol seems to have that same potential. Animal studies have produced promising results. Whether these results will translate to humans remains to be determined. But stay tuned!
If one thimbleful of good comes out of this economic downturn, I am hoping it is a reversal of our current globesity. As far as food is concerned we can all benefit from eating less.
Try this experiment. Next time you sit down for dinner, take a look at the food on your plate and divide it so that you take away one third of your food, preferably the lower NCR foods, meaning foods that have less of a nutrient to calorie ratio. Consider stopping eating two-thirds into your meal and I bet you won’t even remember what food you didn’t eat.