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Old 07-11-2009, 11:09 AM   #1
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Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

There was an article in the newspaper on July 10 about how to live longer on a low calorie diet. Well, it was mostly about monkeys but there's no reason to believe that it won't work on humans too. It was discovered to work on rodents in the 1930s. Since then there have been countless experiments on all kinds of animals, bugs, worms, flies and you name it. The latest news is that it appears to be working to slow the aging in primates.

They don't just live longer, they stay young longer. The monkeys on the calorie restricted diet have less than half the rate of cancer or heart trouble. Their brains have less age related shrinkage and they retain more muscle.

Separately, in the book "Beyond The 120 Year Diet" the author states that people should be able to live to 120 and beyond. All the experimental evidence points to longer life and extended youthfulness.

So what are we waiting for? Let's get started! The "fountain of youth" was discovered in the 1930s. Instead we see the opposite as the percentage of overweight and obese is on the rise.

As a society, we seem to be addicted to tasty high calorie foods. It must be a strong addiction, otherwise we would choose to live more youthful and longer lives, wouldn't we?

Last edited by JohnR41; 07-11-2009 at 11:13 AM. Reason: correction

 
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Old 07-16-2009, 01:55 AM   #2
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

Hi JohnR41,

I read something similar a few years back about how eating a low calorie, low fat diet can actually slow the aging process; and I suppose if you think about it it certainly can't hurt.

Without having to carry around loads of food in the stomach or the arteries getting clogged up with fat the body is bound to be more efficient and healthy. I've been following that type of diet for a few years now, and I certainly feel better for it.

As for the question 'Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?' my answer would be Definitely!

 
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:23 AM   #3
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

no I don't want to live to be 120 no matter what. I want to eat what I like, when I want it.

 
Old 07-18-2009, 10:42 AM   #4
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

Hara Hachi Bu is the Okinawan cultural practice of eating until only 80 percent full.

I don't know if I want to live until I'm 120 years old, but I do want to be healthy. I like the idea of being able to do for myself, even in my mature years.

Not realizing that I was following the "Hara Hachi Bu" way of eating, it seem that it's less taxing on your system, especially as you get older not to overeat and a plus if you are slimmer/thinner; however way you want to put it.

It's a personal choice if you want to live a clean healthy life or like Cloverberry52 eat what you want when you want it.

 
Old 07-18-2009, 11:47 PM   #5
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

JohnR41,

I read about the studies too. I also read from another scientist, who pointed out that these monkeys were raised in a sterile environment. He says that a calorie-restricted diet can indeed be beneficial for many organs in the body, but that long-term calorie restriction can diminish the immune system. He is concerned that folks who try this in the "real world" (non-sterile environment) would not have strong enough immune systems to be able to fight off many of the viruses and chemicals and such that we all come into contact with daily.

So, while calorie restriction would help in some areas of our health, it would hurt in other areas.

If I had to make a choice (smaller meals = longer life vs larger portions = shorter life) -- well, I like good food.

Dee101, I admire that you can follow the Hara Hachi Bu practice.

--Rheanna

 
Old 07-18-2009, 11:54 PM   #6
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

NO for me.

 
Old 07-24-2009, 12:37 AM   #7
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnR41 View Post
As a society, we seem to be addicted to tasty high calorie foods. It must be a strong addiction, otherwise we would choose to live more youthful and longer lives, wouldn't we?
In primitive times, food supplies may not have been plentiful or reliable, so it was a good thing to gorge on high calorie food when it was available and pack on a bit of extra fat to tide one through times when food was scarce. Of course, the need for physical labor to hunt and gather food meant that people were less likely to get very fat even if they ate a high calorie diet. Presumably a liking for high calorie food has been passed down to the survivors' descendents (humans of today).

 
Old 07-25-2009, 09:12 PM   #8
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

When i seen this post i just had to read it to see what most people said...I am 50 and no way would i want to live to be 120...Life here is great ..but i believe there is something much better to come..we are only pilgrims passing through and our eternal home is awaiting us..

 
Old 07-25-2009, 09:43 PM   #9
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

I would not want to live that long, but I do like the idea of being in good health. This world does not feel like home to me. Just the thought of knowing a tiny fraction of the things that go on here makes me too sad and I don't think I'd want to be around that long.
Hope this helps the study.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:48 AM   #10
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

Rheanna,

The monkeys were raised in a sterile environment? Did they have little flush toilets in their cages and sinks where they could wash their "hands" before meals? I don't know about monkeys but I think humans do better when they are exposed to some viruses and germs, as it enables us to develop our immune systems.

About long term calorie restriction diminishing our immune systems: Calorie restriction or not, our immune systems naturally diminish with age anyway. The rate at which that occurs is different for everyone. But if a calorie restricted diet is done properly (along with the proper kind of exercise), it should help our immune systems stay healthy for a longer period of time. Why would our immune systems get worse if all we are doing is cutting out highly-processed empty-calorie foods. Is there a nutritional requirement for these foods that I haven't heard of?

The scientist you mentioned who is concerned about ill effects may have a point, depending on what scenario he's picturing in his mind. I wouldn't have any way of knowing that. What I do know is that not all calories are equal and that we should never be cutting calories from nutrient dense foods. It's not the kind of regimen where one can "make room" for a donut and still maintain adequate nutrition. If the regimen is not carried out carefully, it can backfire. That's explained fully in the book "Beyond The 120 Year Diet" by Roy Walford. That's why I always give the title.

I've been practicing "calorie restriction" for many many years now and I see nothing but positive results. I can't remember when I last had a cold; maybe 20 years ago? I can remember having the flu 3 times in the past 20 years. My weight is remarkably stable and I have plenty of energy.

About liking good food: I like good food too. But to me, good food is healthy food. If it's healthy, I like it. The healthier it is the more I like it. If it's not healthy, I don't like it. And that goes for pizza, sphagetti, lasagna etc.. I used to love those foods many years ago when I cultivated a taste for them. And ice cream was one of my favorite desserts. But I have found that if you stop completely, you eventually lose interest. I haven't had any ice cream for years and I don't miss it.

Last edited by JohnR41; 07-28-2009 at 09:59 AM. Reason: delete quote

 
Old 07-29-2009, 12:59 AM   #11
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

John,

I am impressed with your reports of health as a result of your calorie-restricted but nutrition-intensive diet. I too agree that maximizing real foods while minimizing less healthy foods has to have a positive effect on our health.

There is a nurse named Sandy Szwarc who says that she has looked at the actual studies, as opposed to only what was reported in the news. She says that the scientists say in their protocol (how they set up the study) that they established the base calorie requirements of the control group of monkeys, and then gave them 20% more than their average daily intake. Then the calorie restricted monkeys were fed 30% less than this amount. This means that in this study, the calorie restricted monkeys were not all that restricted in their calorie intake.

She says that the results of the death listings shows that the calorie restricted monkeys did not actually live longer than the control monkeys. There was some "cherry picking" of the data by the researchers to make it look like those monkeys lived longer. They arbitrarily chose to count only the ones who died of human-defined aged-related deaths, while ignoring the others who died of other causes (perhaps because of weakened immune systems and such), and ignoring the fact that what is defined as age-related cause of death for humans may not be the same for a specific species of laboratory animal, and ignoring the distinct possibility that other causes of death might be related to the calorie-restricted diet.

Lots of other research seems to indicate that nutrient-rich calorie-restricted diets may add 1 to 2 years of life to the average human, but the research is pretty thin on this topic.

The bottom line is that this study does not actually predict that humans can regularly live to be 120 years old.

You are taking great care with your diet, and you are showing that a good diet can certainly maximize one's health.

But your original question was "what if...?" So, in the spirit of speculation, yes, I think I would like to live as long as possible, provided I were in good health. Part of the reason is that I am a major procrastinator, and I keep thinking that I'll get around to things "tomorrow". So, I need a longer life in hopes of actually getting anything done. And I like the idea of being alive.

Thank you for posing questions that get us to think!

--Rheanna

 
Old 07-29-2009, 10:04 AM   #12
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

Rheanna

Thanks for the information about the study. If I understand correctly, the calorie restriction only amounted to 10%? I wonder what the reason was for doing that. That's strange! Well, at least there was a 30% difference between the two groups of monkeys. Perhaps they had hoped to learn something from that.

The way she described how the results were arrived at it sounds like the study could have been biased. If that's the case, it's a shame, considering how many years it took to carry out the study. I suppose we will just have to look at other studies.

There's a group of reasearchers known as the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). They travel all over the world to study "super centenarians" (that's anyone who lives to be 110 or older). At one time they used to say that the one thing that super centenarians had in common was that they maintained a good weight throughout their lives. Another study (along with a book: "The Blue Zone") also studied centenarians and they found other things that they had in common. What I remember from that study is that they usually have worked hard all of their lives and didn't eat processed foods.

Then there were studies done of Okinawans. Okinawan elders consume about 10 to 20% less calories than the Japanese, and the Japanese consume about 20% less calories than we do in North America. That means the Okinawans consume about 30 to 40% less calories than we do. That's quite a big difference and it's been suggested that this is one possible reason for their outstanding health and longevity. Of course they also eat healthy foods and work hard/exercise. That's calorie restriction (eating 'til 80% full) and it doesn't appear to do any undue harm to their immune systems.

But Okinawans don't live to be 120! So perhaps 120 is too much to expect. Back to the drawing board. I might have to adjust my expectations down to 115? Or maybe not because I think expectations have a lot to do with longevity. How many people die at 90, 100, or 110 because they give up? At those advanced ages a lot of them wonder why they should try to eat a healthy diet or why they should bother trying to exercise. So maybe I'll stick with my goal of 120+.

P.S. I just had a thought: The study should have been peer reviewed by other doctors and then published. While I have great respect for nurses, a review by a nurse should not be the last word.

Last edited by JohnR41; 08-03-2009 at 11:15 AM. Reason: To delete quote and add P.S.

 
Old 07-19-2010, 11:29 AM   #13
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

The reality is that calorie restriction (without malnutrition) has overwhelmingly been shown to prolong life and lengthen health span in every mammal tested, as far as Im aware - including rats, mice, flies, nematodes, etc. From what I know of the subject (I am no expert), there is very high probability that the result will be the same for humans.

Is it possible that following such a lifestyle would dramatically increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life? I think so, but is the sacrifice worth it??

 
Old 07-21-2010, 12:45 PM   #14
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

"Is the sacrifice worth it?"

That's an interesting question. I think it assumes a big daily sacrifice that never ends. For me it was only a sacrifice in the beginning as I tried to adjust to a new regimen. I didn't have any blueprint for what I was trying to accomplish. Most recipe books are for vegetarians, not vegans. Besides, I don't like following recipes. So I had to find my own way.

Now that I'm used to it, I don't feel like it's a sacrifice and I enjoy good health.

What's the alternative? Poor health, gradually worsening health, side effects from medication, multiple drug interactions, countless medical proceedures dragged out over a period of 10 to 15 years (the final years)? I have seen this kind of health, or lack of it, many times. For example, one elderly obese woman, a neighbor of mine, said: "I thought these were supposed to be my golden years!"

I just read that over 80% of people die from long term degenerative diseases.

Maybe we should try asking a different question: Is the high calorie processed food worth it, if it means having to suffer later with long term degenerative disease?

All of this reminds me of the comedian who said: "If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself." :-)

Last edited by JohnR41; 07-22-2010 at 10:58 AM. Reason: Punctuation etc. Changed chronic to degenerative.

 
Old 07-22-2010, 02:12 AM   #15
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Re: Would you like to live to age 120 in good health?

I've talked to people over 100 years old and in good health, one a great aunt and the other the grandmother of a friend. Both ladies had their wits about them and both had one thing in common: they didn't like old age and saw no reason for people to live longer. The reasons: first, they outlived their husbands for very long times and missid the companionship; most, if not all, of their life-long friends were already dead and, in some cases, even their children and some grandchildred had died. They were unable to engage in their favorite activities such as being able to drive, walking to visit friends, go to church or the store. They could not live alone and had to spend the last years of their lives living only where they could afford ("boneyards" they call them) or with their children which causes great inconvenience and financial hardship on the children if the parents only have Social Security and Medicare.

If an older person confined to a bed, wheel chair or assisted living place told me that he no longer felt that life is worth living and that he didn't want to wake up in the morning I wonder what the politically correct answer is these days.

Why is it that "we're lucky that we're alive"? It isn't suicidal thinking to just ask the simple question "Lucky? Why? What's the point on living just one more year?"

Last edited by torcal; 07-22-2010 at 02:13 AM. Reason: clarification

 
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