People imagine that caloric restriction is associated with near-starvation and constant hunger, or malnutrition due to inadequate intake of dietary nutrients. In fact, caloric restriction, if undertaken correctly, is a healthy lifestyle that is accompanied by weight loss, only occasional hunger, optimal nutrition, and other health benefits. To stress the importance of a healthy lifestyle, caloric restriction will henceforth be referred to as "caloric restriction with optimal nutrition" or CRON.
Practicing CRON means decreasing caloric intake by 30 percent to 40 percent while following the principles of a healthy diet and greatly limiting the consumption of calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods such as white flour and refined sugar. It is also important that additional vitamins and minerals be added to any caloric restriction program to supply any missing nutrients. Only calories, not nutrients, should be limited (Nicolas AS et al 1999).
Researchers initially speculated that animals who consumed fewer calories would also expend less energy. However, careful measurements of the energy expenditures of animals on CRON indicate that they use as much or more energy than their free-feeding counterparts (Duffy PH et al 1991; Masoro EJ et al 1982; Masoro EJ et al 1992; McCarter RJ et al 1992).
In spite of the comparable energy expenditure, however, CRON reduces the cellular damage that is typically associated with higher energy expenditure, including accumulation of ROS products, lipid peroxidation, oxidized proteins, and other measures of cellular aging (Cook CI et al 1998; Dubey A et al 1996; Matsuo M et al 1993).
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