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A low calorie diet could help you live longer

Many people restrict their diets to help weight loss, trim their waistlines or maintain a desirable figure. And our Boot Camp Body Diet plans provide a quick and easy way to stick to a VLCD (very low calorie diet). What you might not know is that low calorie diets are now linked to a longer lifespan.

A study in the USA has shown that long-term calorie restriction promotes the growth of ‘good’ bacteria in the digestive system that increases life span. The study compared the lifespans and changes to digestive bacteria in mice on a low-calorie diet their entire lives, instead of for a short span of time (as other studies have).

In a previous study by the same group of scientists, mice were put on either high or low fat diets. The study was carried out for four years and the researchers found that the mice on low-fat diets lived 25% longer than the mice on fatty diets.

The longer lifespan is down to Lactobacillus bacteria, which is ‘good’, benign bacteria, and a major part of healthy digestion. The bacteria are associated with weight management and loss, and are often taken as a supplement. In a previous study, Lactobacillus was responsible for a 24% decrease in body weight within 48 hours in mice. As a result, the bacteria are valued for its weight loss possibilities and even hunger reduction.

Lose weight and live longer? That’s pretty much all we need to know! Head over to our Boot Camp Body VLCD page to get started on a low calorie diet plan.

If you’d like to know a little more about the science behind the research, keep reading…

After almost three years, they found that many of the low calorie diet mice had elevated levels of the bacteria Lactobacillus. But all the mice on high calorie diets had died and showed much lower levels of Lactobacillus. The mice who’d lived to 144 weeks had an average of 12% more of these bacteria than the mice who‘d already died.

Firmicutes, a bacteria associated with high calorie intake and obesity, decreased from 28% to less than 1% in the low calorie mice. Equally, the mice with higher calorie intake had raised levels of Firmicutes, proving that Firmicutes is negatively connected with lifespan. In a 2012 study, the bacteria were found to increase fat intake. As a result, a low calorie diet reduces Firmicutes in the digestive system, further improving lifespan.

Since the mice who lived the longest were on a low calorie diet and had elevated Lactobacillus levels, the researchers looked at whether the changes to bacteria altered immunity. Bacteria exist in the digestive system, partly, to aid the body’s immunity. And, the researchers found that Lactobacillus did exactly that. Lactobacillus was found to stop disease-causing agents from binding to the walls of the digestive tract, stopping them from causing illness, as they couldn’t affect the body when Lactobacillus was around. Similarly, without any infections, thanks to Lactobacillus, the bodily inflammation levels decreased. This is important because inflammation, while a part of the immune response that allows infections to be fought, can make the body vulnerable to other infections. When the digestive system has fewer stressors like infection and inflammation, it can work optimally, and therefore, promote longer life.

With calorie restriction proving to extend life in mice, its implications for us and our digestive systems could be just around the corner. Dietary changes have long been a part of fitness, but they may soon become a major part of anti-aging regimens.

Source: Zhang C, Li S, Yang L, et al. Structural modulation of guy micro biota in life-long calorie-restricted mice. Nature Communications. 2013.


4 Oct
2013
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