Eat Less, Conquer Mange

Speaking of diets, longevity, brain freeze and, uh, monkeys – I can’t stop thinking about that 20-yr. study done with those rhesus monkeys which showed that cutting calories by almost a third slowed the aging process and fended off death. Some guy named Weindruch and his colleagues conducted the study where half of the monkeys were allowed to eat as they pleased, and the other half ate a carefully controlled diet that provided just two-thirds of the calories they would normally choose to eat. Well, they didn’t eat less by choice, did they? The monkeys were caged and the half that ate 1/3 less did so because their diets were were carefully controlled by that Weindruch guy and his associates. Caloric intake was reduced in the dieting group by 30 percent over three months and held at that level for the rest of their lives!

By the end of the study, 37 percent of the control group had died of age-related causes while only 13 percent of the dieting group had succumbed to age-related conditions like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and brain atrophy.

It turns out that caloric restriction of around 30 percent also leads to health benefits in yeast, worms, flies, and rodents.

Yeah, well, during these studies, did anybody interview the worms, flies, rodents or monkeys to see how they felt about being held captive most of their lives and forced to eat 30 percent less than they wanted to? They couldn’t even make their own food choices. Their lives may have ended up more healthy, but were they happy?

A couple of days ago I tried to eat less. I guess I took this study to heart especially after watching this CBS Evening News clip. This and other recent news articles have effectively convinced me that I should eat less. For starters, I wouldn’t want to be eating naturally all my life only to end up with mange hair like the monkey in the control group who, you will notice (check out the photos in that first link) ended up with patchy, red balding spots all over his scruffy fur, whereas the monkey who was food deprived for 20 years had a thick, brown, lush coat of hair covering his body. What was with these contrasting photos? Some kind of scare tactic? Okay so I’ll cut my calories!

But I’ve been eating normally for 55 years already so I’ll probably still get mange hair and other nasty conditions in my older age. Geez, had I been depriving myself of my daily intake of food by 30 per cent over the last say, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years maybe my hair wouldn’t be this thin already.

As I mentioned, I did try to eat much less than usual about three days ago. I can tell you, it was difficult. I cut my breakfast and lunch in half. By 3PM, I was at home with no supervision, ravenous with hunger and scrounging in the fridge for something big and filling to eat. But hey! As I hung on to the open fridge door I paused and began breathing deeply to feel the hunger. You know, do a ‘Zen’ thing and be the hunger, embrace the aching hunger in my belly …”Hmmmm … good, kind, nagging, lovable, fending-off-death, hunger …”

Being hungry sucks! I devoured all the still-edible leftovers in the fridge and, still feeling hungry, cleaned out the Baby Ruth candy bars from the candy bowl on the dining room buffet. I don’t even like Baby Ruth candy bars, but I didn’t remember this until after I had eaten three of them.

My point here is, the average human couldn’t follow a caloric deprivation diet for more than about six hours, much less 40 or 60 years.

And the problem with these ‘caloric restriction studies’ is that a ‘caloric lifetime of deprivation is needed to achieve the longer-life benefits.’ Darn it! Forget that! Although some people might eat less longer by joining the calorie restriction society,they might never smile again (judging from the member interviewed for CBS News).

Or … choose to continue eating normally and possibly succumb to age-related conditions like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, brain atrophy, and mange hair.

My plan is to keep on keepin’ on with my happy eating habits while holding out for some Big Pharmaceutical Company to replicate the positive results of the food deprivation study with drugs! Yeah! Because they have their research teams working on it, developing a souped-up version of the red wine compound resveratrol that has been found to make mice live longer and stay healthier. Not to worry! Just keep eating the way you normally do and slow your aging process and fend off death by taking a pill! How else could we ever do it?

That’s my plan! Hey, at least I have one! I may buy a wig too, because I really don’t dig the look of that mange hair.

And I do wonder, in the final analysis, how are you really gonna know that you are living longer?

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