Life Extension Magazine September 2008
The CR Way: Using the Secrets of Calorie Restriction for a Longer, Healthier Life
Forget about deprivation or starvation. In their book The CR Way, Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill describe the abundant benefits of providing the body with less dietary energy, that is, fewer calories than it is used to getting, without sacrificing the enjoyment of food. Paul and Meredith are not only firm believers in but also dedicated practitioners of “CR,” Calorie Restriction. What they advocate is eating delicious, nutrient-dense food that delivers maximum nutrition per calorie, which is the opposite of empty calories. Their calorie-restricted diet is based on decades of research, including recent studies from the National Institute on Aging, Harvard University, Washington University, and their own empirical testing.
Readers of Life Extension magazine are familiar with Dr. Stephen Spindler’s impressive work in the field of calorie restriction science. In the introduction of The CR Way, Dr. Spindler states, “McGlothin and Averill take the science of CR and craft a practical, easy-to-follow, and comprehensive action plan. The CR Way makes it possible for anyone—from the neophyte to the serious longevist—to follow their vision for a better and healthier life.”
In the July 2007 issue of Life Extension magazine, we reported on Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill and the Calorie Restriction Society’s ongoing Research Project. Begun in 2002, this is the only longitudinal study of long-term calorie restriction in humans. The first two phases of this trial have already attracted worldwide attention for the remarkable longevity benefits and age-slowing effects of calorie restriction.1-4 Now, phase 3 is looking at its genetic and cell-signaling aspects.
Less is More
You can use The CR Way to stay strong, vigorous, and youthful well into your centennial years. When it comes to living a longer, healthier life, research increasingly attests to the role of food. And, in a nutshell, less is more. The CR Way is a welcoming introduction to a lifestyle based on calorie restriction that includes many enhancements to ensure its benefits are realized—good sleep, glucose control, stress management through meditation, moderate exercise, and fun.
The book begins by demystifying how the aging process can be naturally slowed by eating less food, particularly fried foods, high-glucose foods, and those made with white flour or sugar. As McGlothin and Averill explain in easily accessible terms, the body responds to the low-level stress produced by lower food intake by reducing the rate of cell growth while preserving irreplaceable cells. Spurred by activation of a family of vital youth genes, the natural reaction in response to calorie restriction triggers an array of positive biological effects including:
More Than Just Losing Weight
Besides revealing the amazing longevity benefits of eating less, The CR Way provides a step-by-step plan for reaping them. McGlothin and Averill take pains to show that all readers who want to can benefit by adopting whichever calorie-reduction and other lifestyle practices fit their preferences and degrees of commitment. The authors advise starting slowly, reducing total daily calories by a realistic 5%—if that. They emphasize that The CR Way is not a weight-loss plan, though most people who practice it do lose some weight. For people of healthy weight, eating wisely is much more important than losing weight.
Features of The CR Way
Easy-to-Follow Action Plan
Part I introduces the basics of calorie restriction and of The CR Way: the value of eating to live well and the valuable guidance of practicing calorie restriction as you like it.
Part II defines the benefits of The CR Way to both the body and the mind. Part III presents the plan in a way that is designed to help people actually do what is described. Recipes, equipment, and food recommendations are all explained.
To help get you started, McGlothin and Averill provide a selection of delicious recipes—lemon-ginger sweet potatoes, pea soup with tarragon, savory salmon sandwich, and more—plus sample menus. Part IV includes useful appendices. Besides providing FAQs (e.g., “How do you handle hunger?”), the bibliography, and a glossary, the authors make it clear that they appreciate the giants in the field on whose shoulders they are standing by describing them in CR Groundbreakers. Following this history, the resveratrol appendix provides a glimpse into the future (and the present) of calorie restriction mimetics.
The CR Way‘s publicity has called it controversial and compelling. And it certainly is controversial, given the strong contrast between The CR Way and the lifestyles of two-thirds of Americans who are overweight or obese. But even that leaves 100 million Americans who maintain healthy weight and who could reap the benefits of The CR Way by merely tweaking their lifestyles. And, of course, the book is compelling. Who wouldn’t like to believe that more years of good health can be had relatively easily?
Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill have appeared on CBS’s The Early Show, 20/20, ABC’s The Nightly News, Good Morning America, and most recently ABC’s Living to be 150—Can You Do It? hosted by Barbara Walters. They are currently broadcasting a 100-city national radio tour to letpeople know about The CR Way.
The CR Way: Using the Secrets of Calorie Restriction for a Longer, Healthier Life by Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill ISBN: 978-0-06-137098-4 Collins, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Publication date: April 2008. Trade Paperback Original, 320 pages, Retail price: $15.95; Member price: $11.25. Item #33806
For more information about calorie restriction, please visit the following websites:
1. Fontana L, Meyer TE, Klein S, Holloszy JO. Long-term calorie restriction is highly effective in reducing the risk for atherosclerosis in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2004 Apr 27;101(17):6659-63.
2. Meyer TE, Kovács SJ, Ehsani AA, Klein S, Holloszy JO, Fontana L. Long-term caloric restriction ameliorates the decline in diastolic function in humans. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Jan 17;47(2):398-402.
3. Fontana L, Klein S, Holloszy JO, Premachandra BN. Effect of Long-term calorie restriction with adequate protein and micronutrients on thyroid hormones. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Aug;91(8):3232-5.
4. Fontana L, Klein S, Holloszy JO. Long-term low-protein, low-calorie diet and endurance exercise modulate metabolic factors associated with cancer risk. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Dec;84(6):1456-62.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Health Advisor at 1-800-226-2370.