Does starvation prolong life?

Is caloric restriction the way to live longer? Many seem to think so. At least now in Sweden since a while ago the documentary Eat, fast and live longer with Dr Michael Mosley was aired on the swedish television.
(The link should work if your in Sweden, until 12 of June. After that try YouTube or other)

As it been put to me as a truth that is certain, and that everybody knows that. Did it made me hitching to take closer look on why this is so. Or rather, is it right that by restricting your caloric intake, could you live longer?

List of my sources are as follows:
Swedish science magazine: Forskning och Framsteg #3- 2013 article on why they have so many 100 years olds on Okinawa.
Can extreme calorie counting make you live longer?
Proof mounts on restricted diet
Severe Diet Doesn’t Prolong Life, at Least in Monkeys
Calorie restriction doesn’t slow aging, monkey study suggests
Glasgow has lowest life expectancy in UK
Old CRONies: the diet they say will get you into your second century
How to live to 101 – BBC Horizon or Top documentary film

So what did I learn from listening and reading?
Well from the swedish science magazine that is not one of those common ”Illustrated” ones, instead I think it has a good reputation, could I read that longelivity on Okninawa depends on 4 things.

  1. They get high amounts of Flavonoids from their homegrown vegetables, less meat and more fatty fish. Eat slowly without being full. (article claim low saturated fat)
  2. Daily physical work, taking care of your garden. Those vegetables does not grow by themselves.
  3. Taking care of the their total health, physical, mental, social and spiritual.
  4. And social network
  5. And genes

Actually 5, as they also consider genetics important so I add that to the list.

From Eat fast and live longer with Dr Michael Mosley did I learn a new word, IGF-1, some kind of protein. So after all these different cholesterol types and whatever else. Should I now also keep on eye on this? As it seem to be linked with cancer. It should be low according to the scientist in the program. And one way to lower it is to eat less protein. But just less, you still need it on daily basis. Also important is lower blood sugar.
The documentary advocates either fasting (no food) for 4 days each month or the popular 5:2 eating plan. That is, eat anythiing for 5 days. And then eat only 500-600 cal a day for 2 days. Actually Michael Mosley his now selling a book on it.

From How to live to 101 – BBC Horizon can we learn that on Okinawa do they eat vegetables and eat less.

While in Ovodda on Sardinia also have long living population. Here is it because of the genes. Because they eat and drink as if it was no tomorrow. The longevity seem to be clustered to certain families.

Loma Linda in California is also is marked on world map as a blue zone. This time the reason for so many old people, seem to be spiritual and social life together with daily exercising.

I do not know what color the opposite of blue zone is. But Glasgow according to the documentary is the opposite. As also pointed out in the bbc article Glasgow has lowest life expectancy in UK. The reason is according the documentory due to overcrowding during the industrial revolution. And here population developed something called high inflammatory response. That protected you when you young from viruses and deceases so you could reach adult age and breed children before you die.
But then as you get older could an over acting immune system cause diabetes, heart decease. Which should be common in Glasgow.

Just to show that nature maybe not out to kill you after you stopped breeding. But just do not care for you anymore.

Discussion
When I did meet people in the 80s who had visit Sweden, or maybe only Stockholm. Comments where that they never seen so many beautiful old people, and asked my why. I could only agree that mediterraneans usually looked older. I attributed mainly to the sun, that it dried out the skin.
Does tourists think the same today? Do I? No I do not think so. So what have changed for them that was born after 1900-1930? Do our charter trips make the sun dry our skin?

I do not think most things depends on only one thing. Or at least, usually something depends on more things then one. Some more important, and some less. But here, I will try to point my finger on something I think is an important factor.

Thought for many years that one secret to slow down aging, was to have a “no worry” attitude. As one person somewhere in one of documentaries said. You have to have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. And I think that most of us can imagine that has some truth to it and heard expressions like, “she died of broken heart” when for example losing a child.

And it have shown that stress and worries do cause inflammation in the arteries. And that is the begining that leads to heart problem. So don’t worry be happy, is a good slogan.
But what are the other causes for some people to look young and healthy, and maybe also is? Genes besides.

The idea, that lowering the calories is the answer, is to me a kind of case of simplifying the case. If you are one of those, and lets face it, most people does, who thinks a calorie is a calorie. Then of course, any improvements on your health is only because of lowering the caloric intake.

But I’m not. So I will look for what I want to find. And yes, I am well aware that it is biased.

Improvements on life expectancy with low caloric intake has been shown on for example rats, monkeys and yeast. But it has not been tested on human. As we cannot lock up a couple of hundreds, feed them different things and see how long they live. Still to me, when something seem to work for many difference species, then why not, it is plausible. If it was only one, no way.

In the Eat, fast and live longer documentary does a Cronie only eat the skin of an apple. As that is where 95% of the nutrients is. The rest is sugar, and throws it. Because he do not want the sugar. But for him, is the calories he want to avoid. So even though he fills him up on berries is it still low calorie. So it seems to me that maybe it is not much sugar in his food. Or at least protected with fibers.

In the Can extreme calorie counting make you live longer? Do they interview Dr Valter Longo. Same guy who advocate the 4 days of fasting in Eat, fast and live longer. He show experiments on yeast. And says they live longer if the are deprived of calories, that is amino acids and sugar.

By the way, the Cronie presented there does not look healthy at all to me.

In the Eat, fast and live longer. Does the Dr Valter Longo want us to lower the IGF-1 and blood sugar.
Guess what, I know a way to lower the blood sugar. Ditch the carbohydrates.
The reason for lowering the IGF-1 seem to because it will stop the body to make new cells. Instead will it encourage it to repair old ones.

It is clear that lack of IGF-1 seem to prohibit growth. As the genetically modified rats without it, are tiny. But hey, they live longer. And people with a decease which makes them lack the IGF-1 are stunt in their growth.

What is interesting with these people? The fact is that they seem to not get diabetes or cancer. Yes that is great. But nowhere does he or anyone claim that the lowering of IGF-1 will prolong the life. And I found the reason.
“Unlike dwarf mice, however, people with Laron syndrome do not seem to experience increased longevity. The effect on life span may have been obscured in this study by the unusually high number of accidents and alcohol-related deaths seen in the Laron subjects.“

And it is longevity we where looking for. Not if it says cancer or other thing on your death certificate.

Later in the documentary do they look on rats that develop Alzheimer’s. Those of them that go on intermittent fasting will increase life expectancy and develop the Alzheimer’s later.

So what does the fasting entail? I do not know for sure. But it seems to me that they are giving the mice that is not fasting “Fast food” or something similar to taking them to McDonalds. More specific they give them fat and water with fructose in it. Actually it is a little unclear.

The scientist, Mark Mattson, make equality between fat and sugar. But mainly points to the sugar put in their food and saying:
“high fat diet exactly we put fructose in their drinking water and that has a dramatic effect.. earlier onset of memory and learning problem”

If I am right, this guy who supposedly is a well known scientist is doing the cardinal sin. Not changing one parameter.
Then they show that the rats on no sugary water but fasting is creating new brain cells. But wait a minute. Was it not important to lower the IGF-1, and you did that by fasting. To stop the body to create new cells?

It is something very strange here.

So now we go to the studies on monkeys.
First thing that strikes me is that we have 2 different studies. And they give different result. At least when it comes to life expectancy. No cause for any subjectivity. Your where born at a certain date and died another.
You can always be someone who say “oh that is easy, it is a difference because the experiments that presents findings that oppose my opinion are bad done”. Or you can look for what they did differently.
They write on some places that even though it was same type of monkeys was their origin different. Good point. As we know gene could matter. But we talk about 2 different groups and the effect of fasting inside them. Not sure I make my point there.

But what I sure about is how on one article I read about the studies, just happen to mention that it also was a difference in what kind of food they ate. And again sugar pops up its sweet and deadly head again.
for example, 28.5% of the diet of the Wisconsin monkeys was made from sucrose, whereas the sugar only made up 3.9% of the NIA diet.

Wisconsin’s control monkeys were allowed to eat as much as they wanted and were fatter than those in the aging institute’s study, which were fed in amounts that were considered enough to maintain a healthy weight but were not unlimited.

I do like this:
That suggests the longevity diet didn’t really extend lifespan in the Wisconsin monkeys: It only seemed to because the control monkeys ate themselves into an early grave.

We all know what happens when we add sugar to the diet. At least if you beleive Dr Lustig We get hungrier and eat more. Just like those poor monkeys.

Conclusion

Yes I pointing my finger here to one thing. But I do accept that it is more to it than just sugar.

To live a life without stress is to me also important.
My life is in the hands of any rascal who chooses to annoy or tease me .
Supposedly said by Joseph Hunter. Whom likewise supposedly died 2 weeks afterward when someone did make him lose temper.

And if you think intermittent fasting is right. Then the good thing with LCHF, and most people doing it, agree on it. You start intermittent fasting automatically. Not because you decide to starve yourself and think feeling hunger is healthy, instead you do it because your are just not hungry.

Hey! what about the Okinawa cases?
It seem to have been done many studies on how bad health the second generation of Japanese immigrant to the US have, compared to those in the old home country. Indicating gene has nothing to do with it.

I know I should not, but I find just a little funny how the camera in the How to live to 101 – BBC Horizon zoom in on a japanese/american family celebrating a 101 year birthday. While the speaker says that his children, will not live as long as he has. And all the time are they eating a sugary cake.

Sugar that supposedly the Japanese did not get much in old time. And I do think the old people of Okinawa is not eating much of it either.

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