Friday, July 15, 2011

Calorie Restriction and the Half-Diet

So, after a few days, we’ve finally reached the last bullet point to discuss:

3. The only proven method of extending your lifespan is by calorie restriction.

Okay, I’ll admit, when you look at the data on the webpage above, you’ll see an animal study showing that mice and rhesus monkeys live longer. There are claims on other species and I managed to look at them before they restructured this webpage. Unfortunately, I can’t claim evidence that I can’t show you. There are other articles based on human studies but they are simply ‘presumptive.’ That means these studies point to a few things and presume that the people who have these things will live longer. It’s difficult to make studies regarding human lifespans mainly because humans live longer than our interest levels would hold.

Now, one big difference with people and animals is that we can rationalize eating less or more. Another difference is that we have a lot of freely available food compared to animals that have to struggle and scrounge for their nutrition. What does this mean? Animals consume a fairly static level of calories per day because their level of activity is fairly static. Humans, however, have occasions where they consume more or move less. Holidays, in general, allow people to eat more. They also move less, resulting in less traffic during said days. The result is a greater input and lesser output. This means that although total caloric intake is important, our ability to regulate our caloric output also means that we can focus our attention on caloric excess, or the difference between our input and our output. If your output is equal to or greater than your input, you’ll lose weight. It’s actually that simple.

After a large part of my life was spent labelling things black and white, maturity has shown me that things, even when simplified, are not really that simple. I do not advocate calorie restriction wholeheartedly. Another tenet in my life is to “Enjoy everything in moderation.” That rule also applies to calorie restriction. I only advise it when you’re trying to reach your ideal body weight. I use Broca’s formula (the first one on the previous link) simply because it’s easier to remember. However, if you are a stickler for accuracy, the Body Mass Index (BMI) is the way to go. Since most of my readers are Asians, I would recommend either the Japanese or Singapore version for you.

Sometime ago, Glyco wrote a request for me to discuss liquid fasting diets. Although liquid fasting diets are great to jump start a weight loss program, they’re not really that great to use for the rest of your life. Weight loss is just the start. Weight maintenance is the real battle. And that’s where liquid fasting diets fail. What people need is a diet that they can and will adhere to for the rest of their lives. My answer to that is the “half diet.” You eat whatever you used to eat before you started dieting but half the amount. That means half the viands and half the rice. It also means no in-between-meal snacks. The nice thing about this diet is that you’re going to be eating the same things you’ve been eating. Why? The smaller the change, the easier it is to incorporate into your daily life.

Now that we’ve got the preliminary discussion down pat, we’ll continue with increasing output next week.

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