Want to slow the signs of aging and live longer? Yes, there is a “fountain of youth,” but you’re not going to like it?it can be summed up in two words: eat less.

Calorie restriction has long been shown to slow the aging process in rats and mice. While scientists do not know how calorie restriction affects the aging process in rodents, one popular hypothesis is that it slows aging by decreasing a thyroid hormone called T3, which then slows metabolism and tissue aging. A new study shows that cutting approximately 300 to 500 calories per day from your diet has a similar biological effect in humans and, therefore, may slow the aging process.

Researcher Edward Weiss says, “Over recent years, there has been a huge amount of debate about whether calorie restriction slows the aging process in humans. Our research provides evidence that calorie restriction does work in humans like it has been shown to work in animals.”

Weiss wanted to know if calorie reduction would lower T3 levels in humans. To determine if the lowered levels of T3 were a result of calorie restriction and not weight loss in general, Weiss also recruited volunteers to lose weight through exercise. Study volunteers included sedentary, non-smoking, 50- to 60- year-old men and post-menopausal women with average or slightly above average body man index values who were in otherwise good health.

They were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a calorie-restriction group, an exercise group or a control group, and followed for one year. Volunteers in the calorie restriction group lost weight by reducing their daily calorie intake by 300 to 500 calories per day. Volunteers in the exercise group maintained their regular diet and exercised regularly.

Volunteers in both the calorie-restriction and exercise groups experienced similar changes of body fat mass. However, only volunteers in the calorie restriction group also experienced lower levels of the thyroid hormone.

So that’s the bad news folks: exercise alone, while important, won’t do it?if you want to live longer, you’ve got to eat less.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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