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How Effective Are Anti-Aging Diets? Here’s What Science Tells Us

Public interest in diets that supposedly extend our lifespan remains high, but scientists caution that research on these diets in people is limited.
Many anti-aging diets are promot as ways to extend your lifespan.
However, much of the research on anti-aging diets do in animals — not humans.
Researchers caution that data on the benefits of these diets for people is limit.
Speak with your doctor before you begin any new diet to make sure it’s a healthy choice for you.

These diets include calorie restriction, intermittent fasting, fasting-mimicking diet, the keto diet, and time-restricted feeding.

All of these are intended

Much of the research on anti-aging diets do in non-human organisms — from microbes to worms to rodents.

Calorie reduction effective in rodents diets

 

In the rodent studies, the most promising anti-aging diets involved calorie restriction.

This fits with other research looking at the opposite — the impact of greater food intake.

 

The size of this lifespan shortening depends on how much excess food is eaten and for how long, he say.

“One could argue from the rodent studies that the difference in life expectancy [between animals] due to caloric intake is up to 50 percent,” said Forster.

Another diet that Kaeberlein and his colleagues found promising is intermittent fasting, in which mice fasted for 1 day in between feedings.

“The evidence is poor that any current dietary practice other than [calorie restriction] will significantly and broadly influence health and longevity,” said Forster.

Certain diets improve markers of health

“However, there is some evidence consistent with anti-aging effects for [calorie restriction] and related diets in humans,” they added.

“What’s missing is a multi-disciplinary approach,” he say. “If you put all [the research] together, you get a very different picture — with certain nutritional interventions not only consistently associated with health, but also with longevity.”

Because of the challenges of following people for decades, much of the anti-aging diet research focuses on shorter-term benefits.

“What processes and preventable events contribute to failure to achieve optimal health during aging and make us vulnerable to disease?” he said.

Some anti-aging diets are safe for most people

Although more research on these diets is need, “from one perspective, we already significant information,” say Forster. “Maintaining a healthy weight throughout life tends to maximize health and longevity.”

For example

while he doesn’t think people should do 16 hours of fasting every day for the rest of their lives, a shorter fast period during the day should be safe for most people.

“There are no studies that ever saw on 12 hours of fasting and 12 hours of feeding every day being harmful,” he say.

For other diets, such as the fasting-mimicking dietTrusted Source which Longo studies, there are more caveats. But not so many that Longo couldn’t easily rattle them off in 30 seconds.

Some of his warnings

against doing these diets too often or too extremely — or when there are medical reasons for a person to not restrict their diet.

“What if you restrict yourself too much or for too long? What if you restrict yourself when you’re 85? Well, that canbe a big problem,” say Longo.

Severe calorie restriction can potentially lead to increased cold sensitivity, decreased sex drive, poor sleep, chronic fatigue, and muscle weakness.

Other researchers have raised a concern that intermittent fasting and other restrictive diets could lead to disordered eating.

As for the fasting-mimicking diet, Longo said many people could benefit from doing this 2 or 3 times a year, but not more frequently.

But, he say there are other dietary patterns — not relat to calorie restriction — that are know to beneficial.

 

“While you have the need for personalization [of the diet],” said Longo, “there are some things that will benefit the great majority of people.”

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