[extropy-chat] Calorie Reduction Cardiovascular Benefits

Hal Finney hal at finney.org
Tue Apr 20 23:42:00 UTC 2004

A new report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences has encouraging news about the health effects of calorie
reduction.  See http://www.pnas.org/misc/highlights.shtml#HL8 for an overview.
The abstract from http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0308291101v1 :

   Little is known regarding the long-term effects of caloric restriction
   (CR) on the risk for atherosclerosis. We evaluated the effect of CR on
   risk factors for atherosclerosis in individuals who are restricting
   food intake to slow aging. We studied 18 individuals who had been on
   CR for an average of 6 years and 18 age-matched healthy individuals
   on typical American diets. We measured serum lipids and lipoproteins,
   fasting plasma glucose and insulin, blood pressure (BP), high-sensitivity
   C-reactive protein (CRP), platelet-derived growth factor AB (PDGF-AB),
   body composition, and carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT). The CR
   group were leaner than the comparison group (body mass index, 19.6 ± 1.9
   vs. 25.9 ± 3.2 kg/m2; percent body fat, 8.7 ± 7% vs. 24 ± 8%). Serum
   total cholesterol (Tchol), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, ratio of
   Tchol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides,
   fasting glucose, fasting insulin, CRP, PDFG-AB, and systolic and
   diastolic BP were all markedly lower, whereas HDL-C was higher, in the
   CR than in the American diet group. Medical records indicated that the
   CR group had serum lipid-lipoprotein and BP levels in the usual range
   for individuals on typical American diets, and similar to those of the
   comparison group, before they began CR. Carotid artery IMT was 40% less
   in the CR group than in the comparison group. Based on a range of risk
   factors, it appears that long-term CR has a powerful protective effect
   against atherosclerosis. This interpretation is supported by the finding
   of a low carotid artery IMT.

These values look really good.  HDL-C is the "good" cholesterol and that
was the only one that was higher; all the others are risk factors and
were lower in the CR group.  Also note that the CR people had typical,
i.e. bad, measurements before they began CR.  These CR people were
consuming an average of 2/3 the calories of the typical American diet.
For those who can stick to it, the health benefits appear to be real.


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