Wired: “Aubrey de Grey, a Cambridge University gerontologist, recently wrote a paper concluding that CR [caloric restriction] is unlikely to add more than two or three years to the mean or maximum life span. De Grey said he is skeptical of CR’s potential for radical life extension in part because he sees no reason why it would be advantageous from an evolutionary perspective. “
Worth noting that Aubrey is in the minority on this one, right or otherwise; most of the funding currently directed to science to extend the healthy human life span is going towards efforts to understand, mimic or improve upon the biochemistry and genetics of calorie restriction.
Meanwhile, you shouldn’t miss the rather important point that the quality of your life (i.e. are you suffering horribly for those last thirty years) is very much affected by calorie restriction, and that is proven. e.g.
This is all just tuning the machine rather than building better components, however, and not the best approach to any meaningful life extension, but still. If you don’t think that medical science is going to advance rapidly enough to make your life long and healthy regardless of what you do now – and I think that’s a risky bet – then you should certainly be practicing calorie resriction.
Reason: The issue I have here is whether a fanatical devotion to abstaining from food (you know, that pivotal resource that the body needs) prevents one from ENJOYING life. The article I quoted and the studies I’ve read indicate that CR, at best, adds only two to three years of life. That seems a dubious tradeoff for a life spent constantly starving. How many people on CR truly believe (without proof) that they will live decades longer?
I do agree that controlling diet is certainly a major issue that needs to be better handled. But CR strikes me as Atkins (as bad as that is) gone horribly amuck.
And on a side note, who was the jerk who created the clinical term “calorie restriction.” Let’s call it for what it really is: starvation.
worth noting form the longevitymeme.org web site:
“Cryonic suspension is, after all, only the second worst thing that can happen to you.”
(apparently a close second to being Clockwork-Oranged Creed concert footage)
Ed, I’m with you. The idea that calorie restriction will either improve your life or enable you to live longer is magical thinking, in my opinion. If the bullet has your name on it, you’re gone, no matter what you eat. So you might as well enjoy life–and food. Your post brings to mind the experiment in which Nathan Pritikin paid the citizens of a town in Lousiana to convert to his diet. All complied except for one man. When they told the guy he’d live a year longer if he followed Pritikin’s directions, he replied, “If I had to eat like that I wouldn’t want to live.” Enough said.