The Calorie Restriction Society presented “The Calorie Restriction and Glucose Control Workshop” at the Sheraton Tarrytown, New York, on August 10-12, 2007. The Workshop is now history, and it’s a history that will be built on. One historical aspect is that it was the first time that a workshop was held for the purpose of helping people practice and learn how to integrate Calorie Restriction (CR) into their lives. Many participants said that what they learned in those 2 ½ days would change their lives.
The Workshop attracted people from around the world—Asia, Europe, and North America. And they came for all kinds of reasons—doctors were there for information to improve their patient care. Some LEF members came to learn more about Calorie Restriction to see if they wanted to try out this new longevity lifestyle. Other seasoned CR practitioners attended to find out how to take advantage of new research to guide their CR practices. All the participants were united in the goal of actively pursuing the best health.
The media also had a strong presence—National Geographic attended all three days, and CBS sent a camera crew and reporter to film interviews and some of the scrumptious CR meals.
Longevity and Cell Signaling
The Workshop introduced the concept that in 2007, CR is not so much about weight loss as about cell signaling. Paul McGlothin, vice president for research of the Calorie Restriction Society (www.calorierestriction.org), opened the Workshop by presenting the basics—how CR works and how to activate the cell signaling that makes CR a real longevity regimen, rather than just another diet. He presented the importance of insulin, the insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) pathway, and the role of these hormones in aging and in calorie-restriction effects.
The workshop was held as a benefit for the Calorie Restriction Society’s research project, the only longitudinal study of CR in humans. Distinguished speakers presented results from the research so far as well as revealing future areas of study.
Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, the principal investigator of the project, presented background on the research, results so far,1-3 and the plans for future work, e.g. the forthcoming Phase 3 project, which includes testing the genetic effects of long-term CR in humans.
In his presentation of lessons learned from the initial phases of the project, Dr. Fontana particularly cautioned about excessive intake of dietary protein—noting that protein stimulates high IGF-I concentrations, which increase tumor development at least in part by stimulating cell proliferation. In other research, Dr. Fontana revealed results from a recent study in which a group of individuals on a low-calorie, low-protein diet had lower plasma IGF-I concentrations than lean distance runners and a sedentary control group.4
Stephen R. Spindler, PhD, who will lead the genetic testing in Phase 3 of the research project, then went on to present the results of this project’s parallel studies in lab mice. The genetic results from the human subjects will be correlated to their clinical markers and compared with the mouse data, with the ultimate aim of developing easy-to-use clinical tools that will indicate how well the CR regimens are doing.
Robert Krikorian, PhD, will lead a new aspect of the research in Phase 3—Personality and Cognition in Calorie Restriction—which will augment the clinical and genetic aspects of the study with measures of personality factors, mood, and working memory ability.
Putting Calorie Restriction into Practice
A major part of the conference dealt with applying this new knowledge to everyday life—from food choices to exercise. Participants learned how to use blood glucose meters. In addition, they weighed their food at meal time and used NutriBase—the premier nutrition and fitness software—for an analysis of the calories and nutrients received from the diet. Other aspects of the Workshop showed participants how to integrate calorie restriction into a rich and rewarding holistic lifestyle that includes exercise, meditation, rejuvenating sleep, eating to enhance insulin production, and increase cognitive capabilities. The CR Way by Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill—forthcoming from HarperCollins—covers all this and more (www.LivingTheCRWay.com).
Benefits of Caloric Restriction
An LEF member reading this might say, “What will I really gain if I try calorie restriction?” That question was resoundingly answered at the workshop:
- Protection against cardiovascular disease
- Lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure
- Improved diastolic function
- Decreased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides
- Reduced arterial plaque formation
- Possible reversal of accumulated plaque
- Lower body fat—reducing risk of disease
- Protection against diabetes
- Decreased inflammation
- Defense against cancer
- Protection from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Better DNA repair and maintenance
Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming CR Conference
To learn more about CR, mark the dates November 7-11, 2007 in your calendar—this is when the Calorie Restriction Society will be holding its Fifth Conference in historic San Antonio at Sunset Station, (http://www.calorierestriction.org/Conferences-2007), during which many famous Calorie Restriction scientists will present their perspectives on CR. Presenters include:
- Steven Austad, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
- Rochelle Buffenstein, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
- John Holloszy, MD, Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis
- Jim Nelson, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
- Jay Phelan, PhD, UCLA
- Arlan Richardson, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
- Walter Ward, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
- Bradley Willcox, MD, University of Hawaii
One of the most important aspects of the conference is the warm, friendly camaraderie. You can be sure that you will be warmly welcomed to CR 5.
If you would like to have a Calorie Restriction and Glucose Control Workshop conducted for your organization or if you would like to partner with the creators to present a Workshop for additional audiences, please contact: BoardChair@CalorieRestriction.org or 800-929-6511.
—Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill