Thursday, August 02, 2012

Want to live longer? Ditch the diet, cancel your gym session - just eat very little

This appears to have worked for the Japanese.  Up until about 1960, most  were very poorly fed,  rarely getting as much to eat as they would have liked.  That has two effects:  Stunted growth and longer lifespan.  Both effects are seen in older Japanese, many of whom  live for a century or more and who are about 6" shorter than younger Japanese

It will be interesting to see what transpires if North Korea is ever liberated.  They have chronic famine there and the average North Korean is 7" shorter than the average South Korean

Forget exercise, fad diets or so-called miracle pills – if you want to live longer simply eat less, a leading scientist has claimed.

Dr Michael Mosley, a presenter on BBC science show Horizon, said ongoing research suggested that a high metabolic rate – how much energy the body uses for normal body functions – is a risk factor for earlier mortality.

And he revealed that communities in Japan and the U.S. which  follow strict, low-calorie diets  appear to have a lifespan longer than the global average.

The 55-year-old said of calorie restriction diets, which are often as low as 600 calories a day: ‘The bottom line is that it is the only thing that’s ever really been shown to prolong life.

‘Ultimately, ageing is a product of a high metabolic rate, which in turn increases the number of free radicals we consume.

‘If you stress the body out by restricting calories or fasting, this seems to cause it to adapt and slow the metabolism down. It’s a version of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.’

Dr Mosley said he did not believe it was necessary to eat three meals a day because ‘what we think of as hunger is mainly habit’.

In a new Horizon programme, he also suggests that intermittent fasting could offer the same benefits as calorie restriction by reducing the growth of hormone IGF-1.

While the hormone maintains and repairs tissue, high levels have been shown to contribute towards cancer and ageing.
New approach: Forget exercise, fad diets or so-called miracle pills ¿ if you want to live longer simply eat less, a leading scientist has claimed

New approach: Forget exercise, fad diets or so-called miracle pills - if you want to live longer simply eat less, a leading scientist has claimed

His comments, made to the Radio Times, come after the Institute of Health Ageing at University College London suggested eating 40 per cent less could extend a person’s life by 20 years.

A researcher said: ‘If you reduce the diet of a rat by 40 per cent it will live for 20 per cent longer. So we would be talking 20 years of human life.

'This has shown on all sorts of organisms, even labradors.’


Anxiety 'raises risk of early death by a fifth'

There could be a social class explanation here if working class  people experience more stress.  Even if they don't, chronic  depression is a mental illness and we know that working class people have poorer health generally

Even low levels of stress of anziety can increase the risk of fatal heart attacks or stroke by up to a fifth, a study has shown.  Anxiety and low-level depression appear to set off physiological changes that make the body more prone to death from cardiovascular disease.

A quarter of adults are at risk of an early death even though their problems are relatively mild, it found.

People who suffer from clinical depression or other major mental health problems have a greater chance of dying early.  But now British researchers have found that even those with problems they don’t consider serious enough to bring to a doctor’s attention, are at an increased risk.

The team found those with “sub-clinical” anxiety or depression had a 20 per cent higher chance of dying over a decade than those who did not.

The researchers, from universities and hospitals in Edinburgh and London, looked at deaths in 68,000 middle aged and older people who they followed from 1994 to 2004.

They found those suffering from sub-clinical anxiety and depression were at a 29 per cent increased risk of dying from heart disease and stroke.

They were also at a 29 per cent increased risk of dying from ‘external causes’ like road accidents and suicide, although these only accounted for a tiny proportion of deaths.

It had been thought that depressed or anxious people were more likely to die early because they failed to take good care of themselves - perhaps smoking and drinking more, eating worse and doing less exercise.

But Dr Tom Russ, lead author of the study, published in the British Medical Journal, said: “These ‘usual suspects’ only make a small difference to mortality.”

Even when these factors and others - including blood pressure - were stripped out of the equation, the link remained, he emphasised.

The psychiatrist, of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre at Edinburgh University, said this suggested stress altered the physiology of the body to make it intrinsically less healthy.

In particular, he said it could make the body more vulnerable to heart attack and stroke.  He said: “It’s early days, but there’s growing interest in potential physiological changes associated with both distress and cardiovascular pathology.”

Dr Russ pointed out that the group they looked at were not those with serious depression who were simply avoiding medical help.  “If these individuals went to a doctor, they wouldn’t be diagnosed with depression,” he said.  So many people had mild anxiety or depression, “that we really need to take it seriously”, he argued.

But he said neither he nor colleagues who worked on the project were advocating “the medicalisation of anxiety”, nor suggesting people suffering from it should go on drugs.

If anything, they thought treatments not based on drugs should be investigated.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said: "This research highlights the importance of seeking help for mental health problems as soon as they become apparent, as early intervention leads to much better health outcomes all round."

*Meanwhile, new figures show that the number of anti-depressants prescriptions being issued in England has risen by almost 10 per cent in just a year.

Data from the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care show that the number rose from 42.8 million prescriptions in 2010 to 46.7million in 2011 - a rise of 3.9 million, or 9.1 per cent.

The NHS is now spending £49.8 million on anti-depressants such as citalopram and fluoxetine, better known by its brand name, Prozac.

Of all drug types, antidepressants saw the biggest rise in cost and items dispensed between 2010 and 2011.


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