Life Extension Magazine March 2011
The Benefits of a CR Way™ Diet
By Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill
For 75 years, thousands of scientific studies have shown that low-calorie diets with optimal nutrition protect against disease and extend life span. Yet the idea of eating fewer calories may seem difficult to some. And no wonder: tabloids—both in print and on the Web—have distorted what calorie restriction really means, suggesting that following such a diet results in a dreary life where one eats small amounts of tasteless food. How silly!
In the October 2010 issue of Life Extension Magazine® we began to dispel such myths with “Calorie Restriction Can Be Easy,” an article that shows how food choices can make all the difference between feeling happy and satisfied or experiencing insatiable craving for food you don’t really need and that may eventually kill you. If you missed it, take a moment to look at it on www.lef.org. It provides excellent background for the focus of this piece: optimizing food choices for satisfaction and health benefits.
Think for a minute: What do you want from your food? Great taste, perhaps? All the nutrients you need to be healthy? Protection from disease or reversal of a disease you already have? How about increased functionality? And possibly slowing or even reversing aging? All of these goals are part of the CR Way™ to Optimal Health, where delicious meals are the starting point for enjoying life and realizing your full potential.
And here’s proof that many CR recipes are easy to make—and take just a few minutes to prepare:
The CR Way™ Long-Life Cereal
5 ounces wild rice (cooked al dente)
Besides being able to put this scrumptious CR recipe together in seconds, you can even prepare it in advance and refrigerate it in a leak-proof portable container, so it’s easy to take on your morning commute. Make sure to add the almond milk just before you leave so the ingredients remain crunchy, if that adds to your enjoyment.
Above are the basic Nutrition Facts of the CR Way™ Long-Life Cereal:
As you can see, this recipe supplies only 370 calories, yet it is loaded with essential nutrients, including healthy amounts of vitamins C, K, and the Bs, along with minerals like magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and even 20% of the daily value of zinc—a nutrient that is hard to come by.
Note that the software shows 7.2 mg of phytosterols, which are a likely reason that CR Way™ all-star foods like blueberries may have extraordinary benefits, such as cognitive enhancement and life extension in animal models.1, 2 Other ingredients, like the strawberries, are also loaded with beneficial phytonutrients.3
When you prepare this, make sure that the strawberries and blueberries are organic, since both fruits absorb pesticides very easily. In fact, conventionally grown blueberries and strawberries have the dubious distinction of being listed among the “Dirty Dozen” on the Environmental Working Group’s 2010 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™.4
Low Glycemic Effect
A fundamental aspect of this and every CR Way™ recipe is that it has a minimal effect on blood glucose. Most of the carbohydrate sources included in this recipe rank on the low end of the glycemic index (GI), which ranks foods according to their effect on blood glucose levels.5 The lime juice, nuts, and olive oil also have a favorable effect on blood glucose.
Another important characteristic of this CR Way™ recipe is its heart-healthy fats. Two of its principal fat sources—walnuts and olive oil—are known for their beneficial cardiovascular effects. 6, 7
Keeping AGEs Low
Notice that this recipe requires very little cooking. The ingredients that are cooked are heated only until al dente (slightly firm). This minimizes the cross-linking of proteins and sugars that results in AGEs (advanced glycation end products), another name for biological garbage that accumulates in the body when foods are eaten that have been cooked at high heat or for a long time or with very little water. Once AGEs are in the body, getting them out is virtually impossible, while the possibility of disease increases.8 CR Way™ advice: when you cook foods, cook them for short periods at low heat with lots of water—blanching or steaming rather than frying or searing, for example.
The CR Way™ Long-Life Cereal is one of dozens of recipes available through the CR Way™ to Optimal Health, a program offered by the Life Extension Foundation®. This program includes the NutriBase CR Way™ Edition software, downloaded to your computer—giving you the best tool to manage your lifestyle for better health.
Some people believe that calorie restriction research showing life extension in mice is not applicable to humans. Try telling that to Okinawan elders, likely the world’s longest-lived people, whose low-calorie lifestyle has been studied extensively by gerontology experts.9 Or try convincing Walter Breuning, the world’s oldest man, who at 114 follows a CR Way™ eating schedule exactly the same as ours—preferring to eat only two meals a day.
The fact is, humans have tremendous advantages over mice—one of them being that we are free to choose delicious foods that add to the benefits of following a low-calorie, nutrient-dense diet. The CR Way™ Long-Life Cereal is just one example. Imagine eating that well at every meal. Soon your life would be transformed. Afflictions like heart disease and cancer are suddenly less likely, while your energy soars. Chances are good that you would live a longer, better life.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.
1. Andres-Lacueva C, Shukitt-Hale B, Galli RL, Jauregui O, Lamuela-Raventos RM, Joseph JA. Anthocyanins in aged blueberry-fed rats are found centrally and may enhance memory. Nutr Neurosci. 2005 Apr;8(2):111-20.
2. Wilson MA, Shukitt-Hale B, Kalt W, Ingram DK, Joseph JA, Wolkow CA. Blueberry polyphenols increase lifespan and thermotolerance in Caenorhabditis elegans. Aging Cell. 2006 Feb;5(1):59-68.
3. Meyers KJ, Watkins CB, Pritts MP, Liu RH. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of strawberries. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Nov 5;51(23):6887-92.
4. Available at: http://static.foodnews.org/pdf/EWG-shoppers-guide.pdf. Accessed December 3, 2010.
5. Available at: http://www.glycemicindex.com/. Accessed December 2, 2010.
6. Ros E. Nuts and novel biomarkers of cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;89(5):1649S-56S.
7. Shukla SK, Gupta S, Ojha SK, Sharma SB. Cardiovascular friendly natural products: a promising approach in the management of CVD. Natural Product Research. 2010 May;24(9):873-98
8. McGlothin P, Averill M. Glucose control: the sweet spot in longevity. In: McGlothin P, Averill M. The CR Way: Using the Secrets of Calorie Restriction for a Longer, Healthier Life. New York, NY: HarperCollins; 2008:57-78.
9. Willcox BJ, Willcox DC, Todoriki H, et al. Caloric restriction, the traditional Okinawan diet, and healthy aging: the diet of the world’s longest-lived people and its potential impact on morbidity and life span. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Oct;1114:434-55.