Eat Less, Live Longer

Scientists say that if you start eating 15% less food by age 25, you could add 4.5 years to your life. The theory is that it lowers metabolic rate and generates fewer “free radicals” in the body. Makes sense, run an engine at a lower overall speed and you’ll get a longer life out of it. Practitioners of the Calorie Restriction diet believe in it, and some think it will lead to eternal life. The tradeoff is that your skin is translucent. Everything in moderation, my friends.

Live Longer: The One Anti-Aging Trick That Works [Live Science] (Thanks to c-side!)
The Fast Supper [NYmag]

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. friendlynerd says:

    So basically, stop enjoying life so I can live my un-enjoyable life 4.5 years longer?

    thanks but no thanks

  2. I’m more into the “add life to my years” than the “add years to my life” camp. Exercise vigorously daily, then eat to stay healthy and strong and energetic. Striving for intentional muscle atrophy is weird, unless you’re some sort of endurance athlete where every ounce matters.

  3. catcherintheeye says:

    Eat right, exercise daily, die anyway.

  4. @friendlynerd: I’ve never understood the desire to pass on some of life’s greatest pleasures, like eating a great big meal, just so I can spend a few more years in a nursing home.

    Screw that. Give me the steak already.

  5. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Then why don’t the starving people in Africa, Burma & India live forever?

    There’s quite a big hole in this theory.
    Even big fat me could fit through it!

  6. friendlynerd says:

    We won’t be able to afford it by then anyhow!

  7. As Dennis Leary said:
    “Well you know. Smoking takes ten years off your life.”Well it’s the ten worst years, isn’t it folks? It’s the ones at the end! It’s the wheelchair kidney dialysis (expletive) years. You can have those years! We don’t want ’em, alright!? And I guarantee if I’m still alive, I’ll be smoking then.”

    And you know what? Let’s say you limit yourself to 200 calories a day? What stops a bus from hitting you or a fat person who eats 6,000 calories a day falling on you at a baseball game?

  8. Benny Gesserit says:

    I thought this was a lead-in to a joke like that one Ellen DeGeneres used to tell: “When my grandmonther turned 60, she started to walk 1/2 mile a day. She’s 83 now and we don’t know where the heck she is.” BA-DUM-BUMP.

    Seriously, ladies and germs, the key isn’t eat less, it’s eat what you need, exercise and you’ll last as long as the fates dictate. (Which could be tomorrow if you’ve got a date with a speeding garbage truck. One never knows.)

  9. pine22 says:

    200 calories a day = not a good idea imo

  10. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    Thank you grocery shrink ray!

  11. DrGirlfriend says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: Because the CR people are also paying attention to nutrition, and they have a bigger variety of healthy foods than do people who are simply starving. Not that I’m defending CR, I am 100% that not only could I not live that way, I wouldn’t want to. But I imagine that that’s the difference.

  12. MissTicklebritches says:

    You need that extra time added to your life to make up for all the time you spend weighing out 24 grams of arugula for your evening meal every night.

  13. @MissTicklebritches: or reading Consumerist comments. More Americans ought to think about this if only for slimming-down reasons. Lord knows most of us eat too much anyway – way more than other countries, and way more than we’ll ever need. Eat less, and give some to folks who can’t afford food right now.

  14. ilovemom says:

    It’s the year 2022… People are still the same. They’ll do anything to get what they need. And they need SOYLENT GREEN.

  15. nsv says:

    Instead of living a long, miserable life, I plan on dying younger with a smile on my face. Please pass the ice cream.

  16. HunterZ says:

    @Git Em SteveDave has a new Lego set: What stops a bus from hitting you or a fat person who eats 6,000 calories a day falling on you at a baseball game?
    You’d certainly be less of a target.


    The linked article paints a picture of a wizened anorexia cult… kind of gross.

    Also, why 4.5 years? That’s not even very impressive, why not 5. Or 5.5? I guess when you’re looking at dying tomorrow or 4.5 years from tomorrow, it’s impressive.

    But from the perspective of a 26 year old (oops, just missed the cutoff!), it doesn’t seem worth it.

    I’ll keep my cakes.

  18. snoop-blog says:

    Sorry ben, it may be off topic, but I looooooooooove redheads and the on in the pic is sexy!

  19. IrisMR says:

    *Stuffing face with thai food* Fwhat?!

    HA!!!! No. Thank you.

  20. friendlynerd says:

    Ok, you first.

  21. Johnny Blackshoe says:

    I think it’s funny when fat people say that they will trade 10 years of their life to “be happy” and then complain about sore ankles, knees, backs, diabetes, and not being able to fly to see their sisters in Seattle (adjustable bypass commercial) when they are in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

    Here’s an idea. Take the stairs and wait 15 minutes before you have seconds; you will live longer AND happier your entire life (not just those precious 10 minutes you are scarfing down thousands of calories).

  22. battra92 says:

    Well, I just ate a McDonalds hamburger for lunch. Yes, I just ate the fabled evil 250 calorie hamburger with no onions!

    I should rot in Hell. ;)

    Seriously, though. I’ve been doing calorie restriction (counting) for about a year now. I’m down from 250 to 218 although not yet to my target weight of 200 (I’m over 6 foot and a big frame) and I’m doing it partially because I want to leave better and partially to attract the ladies (j/k)

  23. nsv says:

    @Johnny Blackshoe: Moderation in all things, please. I don’t want to be underweight, and couldn’t do my job if I was. I don’t want to be grossly overweight, either.

    There’s no reason I can’t have an ice cream once in a while. Every day–no. And never? Forget about that, too.

  24. Skiffer says:

    “One hypothesis is that it decreases a thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine (T3), which then slows metabolism and tissue aging.”

    Yeah…I’ll just wait for the pill that mimics the physiological results…

  25. forgottenpassword says:

    WOW! A whopping 4.5 years added to my life! Well, I’ll just start starving myself right now!

    I like food, food likes me. I could care less about the 4.5 years. I’d rather enjoy myself now.

  26. smonkey says:

    To the camp that says “you might get hit by a bus tomorrow” I’d like to point out that obese people have a higher slight, but significantly higher survival rate for automobile accidents. A little more weight to absorb the kentic energy …plus a little extra padding. So fat people can have their cake and eat it too…and still survive

  27. @friendlynerd: Done and done.

  28. Necoras says:

    Alternatively, you could take Resveratol ([]) capsules daily for the same effect, and potentially extend your life by 20-50 years. Oh, and you might look/feel about 40-50 when you hit 90 too.

  29. AceKicker says:

    Oh no! I’m 26! I’m too late! I’m practically a walking dead man now!

    *rolls eyes*

    Exactly how did they come up with these numbers anyways? Did they set up an experiment 80 years ago and waited for the test subjects to die off? How about, keep your cholesterol down, keep your blood pressure steady, exercise once and a while, and you’ll probably do just fine. Whatever happened to that advice?

    The amount of stress involved with keeping a scale next to my plate and painstakingly chart every substance that enters my body will probably give me cancer anyways.

  30. gamin says:

    I’m already 25 so that would not work for me and the I ask myself do I really want to give away a good holly day meal for 4.5 years more? I don’t know I rather eat and run it’ll balance somehow

  31. Ssscorpion says:

    I don’t particularly care about living longer. I’m happy to check out at 75 as long as I can be as healthy as a horse until the instant before my death.

  32. mythago says:

    Is the calorie reduction really increasing lifespan, or is it that people obsessed with special diets pay more attention to nutrition than the average person, and therefore avoid diet-related health issues like heart disease?

    CR slows down your metabolism….period. So you can scratch exercise off your list, and forget about your sex life. Also don’t hope you get sick or injured and need to draw on your body’s natural fat storage (which is there even in people of normal body weight). Eeech.

  33. FLConsumer says:

    If the study was looking at the typical American diet, you could easily cut 30% of the calories and the person would still not lose weight.

  34. BuddhaLite says:

    Personally I don’t have a problem with what they’re doing. They’re just keeping themself at the maintenance level of calories or just below to lose weight. What I do have a problem with is the authors lack of research into Quorn. It’s been known to cause extremely bad vomitting and consumer groups have been fighting for years to keep it off our store shelves and out of food as an additive.


  35. TWSS says:

    Good point about Quorn. It’s mold, people!

    I’m all for eating healthfully, cleanly (i.e., whole, not processed, foods), and in moderation, but these people are just big old control freaks.

    I can’t wait until orthorexia makes it into the DSM so we can start calling bullshit on this cultish behavior.

  36. lingum says:

    I’m 31 and already have lived 6 years longer than I wanted to. Why keep dragging this nightmare out any longer?

  37. failurate says:

    @Git Em SteveDave has a new Lego set: I like that quote, but what Dennis Leary didn’t think of, is that those shitty last 10 years still come, they just to you earlier.

  38. Numerous says:

    @lingum: Hey, I’m 31, too. Holy crap, are you me?

  39. bleh says:

    I’m 26. Guess it is too late for me. *eats BK triple stacker*

  40. Quatre707 says:

    I’d rather have that 15% greater sense of satisfaction than those extra years on my life.

  41. revmatty says:

    Meh, it’s Sometimes they have really well done articles, other times they have stuff like this. The reporter clearly didn’t do much research as in the past year several studies have been done that isolate reduction of calories from protein as being what actually causes the increased longevity.

    I would call most of the research on this topic as preliminary. There certainly seems to be an effect but how much and why are still being worked out. The protein twist doesn’t surprise me, particularly in the U.S. and Europe we rely far too heavily on meat as a source of calories and not enough time has passed for evolution to adapt us to a suddenly animal-protein rich diet from our earlier mostly plant based diet.

    See the excellent NYT food columnist’s advice on healthy eating: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

  42. Damn supermodels. They get all the shoes and lifestyle, plus now they’re going to outlive us.

  43. parad0x360 says:

    Everyone always gave me crap for not eating anything all day long and then having dinner around 6pm and a snack before bed. We shall see who gets the last laugh now mwuahaha!

  44. Well damn I am screwed at 29.

  45. trihardist says:

    By this logic, we should all stop working out, too, because that raises metabolic rate. And we should pack as little muscle mass onto our bodies as possible, because that raises metabolic rate.

    @revmatty: well said.

    I think we just need to be happy with the little time we’re given. Isn’t 80-100 years enough?

  46. czarandy says:

    @failurate: This is not really true. Extra smoking deaths are typically sudden, as by lung cancer. You aren’t really more likely to have the slow 10 years of suffering death.

  47. czarandy says:

    Did we all miss the part of the article that says that this hasn’t been tested on humans? That seems like an important point. You can’t just extrapolate from other animals.

  48. thelushie says:

    @smonkey: I am convinced that my boobs stopped my ribs from being crushed in my first car accident. No airbag deployed.

  49. Ixnayer says:

    I’d rather die happy and full then to live a long hungry life.

  50. ian937262 says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather:
    Well…. you found the silver lining, good find.

  51. ian937262 says:

    with a comment like that… instant ‘FOLLOW’

  52. Savage says:

    Live longer so you can spend even more of your twilight years going to the doctor and living in a nursing home. Progress?! Flobble-de-flee! In my day, when we were angry and frustrated, we just said, “Flobble-de-flee!” ’cause we were idiots and we didn’t know what else to say!