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Eat Less, Live Longer

By Anonymous 242 in Culture
Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 02:39:24 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

The NY Times (free registration not required by partners link) has a fascinating article about studies done linking lower caloric intake to longevity.

Laboratory rats and mice live up to 40 percent longer than usual when fed a diet that has at least 30 percent fewer calories than they would usually eat though otherwise contains all necessary vitamins and nutrients. The animals are free of age-related disease and appear healthy in every respect except that they are generally less fertile.

The frightening part is that scientists are also attempting to discover the genetic mechanisms behind this increase in longevity.

The gene is known as SIR2, for silent information regulator No. 2, and its product, the SIR2 protein, silences genes by making the material that clads the DNA wrap more tightly, thus denying a cell access to the underlying genes.

On the one hand I do think that increased life spans are (in general) good things, but I see many unanswered questions about scientific advances in the area of prolonging life. How much longer do we have before people who are well off can afford to extend their lifespan by twenty, forty or even fifty percent? What will prevent the companies that produce this tehnology from keeping the prices astronomically high to maximize profits? Is it possible that a potential increase in the life span of the wealthy could lead to an ageocracy?


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Do you want to live ....
o ... fewer years. 5%
o ... as long as nature put into my genes. 23%
o ... ten or so more years. 0%
o ... twenty or so more years. 0%
o ... as long as I possibly can. 28%
o .... forever. 43%

Votes: 158
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o NY Times
o linking lower caloric intake to longevity
o Also by Anonymous 242

Display: Sort:
Eat Less, Live Longer | 37 comments (35 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Crud! I forgot the URL to the actual article. (2.33 / 3) (#1)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 11:40:25 AM EST

A Pill to Extend Life? Don't Dismiss the Notion Too Quickly

You would think... (3.50 / 4) (#2)
by maketo on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 11:41:31 AM EST

..that many a company and scientist are in this business of prolonging your life just to make you happy. My question is - why is everyone so obsessed with living 100 years. Whatever happened to leading an interesting and quality life in which you are HAPPY? Instead nowadays you have people jogging because they are going to live longer (not because they enjoy it), gyms are full of I-exercise-to-live-longer idiots, "we recycle" is the refrain of the "happy" family, "we eat low-fat food" because it is healthy for us, "we dont smoke or drink" because it is good....I mean, come on, if you start abiding by all these "recommendations" you might as well drink bottled water (at least until there is a study showing how the bottle is made of cancerogen plastic) and eat grass....oh wait, you cant eat the grass because of the acid rains...there you go.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
on bottled water (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 11:52:42 AM EST

I mean, come on, if you start abiding by all these "recommendations" you might as well drink bottled water (at least until there is a study showing how the bottle is made of cancerogen plastic) and eat grass

I don't know about cancinogenic plastic but I have read several studies that have noted that in most cases bottled water is no different than tap water and in some cases bottled water is tap water.

In general, I agree with your sentiment. Doing things simply for the sake of living longer seems to me to be a curious motivation. I'll admit to exercising even though I don't enjoy it, but I do greatly enjoy the benefits of not having a sore back all the time and having more energy.

[ Parent ]

Re: on bottled water (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by spiralx on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 11:57:40 AM EST

There have been studies done over here in the UK comparing the quality of tap water, bottled water and mineral water. In general, they found that tap water was at least as good as bottled/mineral waters, and in some cases significantly better - one bottled water contained significant amounts of the E.Coli bacteria...

Dunno about elsewhere in the world, but the tap water here is pretty good.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Re: on bottled water (none / 0) (#27)
by mac on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 06:34:20 PM EST

What exactly do you/these studies mean by "good" and "better", when applied to water? Different parties have different criteria, so the precise definition matters. Some people pay more attention to the presenece of bacteria in the water, some pay more attention to the presence of chemicals (byproducts of the water treatment, etc.).

I admit, I drink bottled water. My philosophy is that, E. Coli and such aside, drinking artificially introduced chemicals such as chlorine (or whatever the water treatment involves to guarantee elimination of bacteria) over the span of years is far more dangerous. Sure they may be small doses, but these things do accumulate in your body over time.

From a more practical point of view, does anyone know of any resources that one can use to find out the content of their drinking water, be it tap or bottled? Especially in Toronto, Canada, where I live?

[ Parent ]
Re: on bottled water (2.00 / 1) (#31)
by FFFish on Sat Sep 23, 2000 at 01:18:19 PM EST

There are any number of water testing facilities. Look in the yellow pages. Call up your local health office. Call up the food inspection office. Expect to pay between $15 and $50 to have your sample tested.

But what I want to know is how you back up your claim that chlorine "accumulates" in the body. Where does it accumulate? Why isn't it excreted? Are you ingesting free chlorine, or is it already binding to something? If the latter, then by what mechanism does it become unbound?

Why drink bottled water instead of filtered water?

How are you coping with the massive amount of toxic gasses "exhaled" by your carpet, your sofa, your computer monitor and the paint on your walls?

Why, if you are concerned about chlorine in your water, are you living in Toronto, where you get to suck back noxious smog every hour of every day?

Y'see, what's got me confused and, I hate to admit it, a little concerned is that you're making some fairly wild claims (chlorine accumulates in the body) and taking some fairly extreme actions (spending a good $1K/year on bottled water) which may actually be worse for you (E. Coli and other contaminants) and then living a lifestyle which runs entirely counter to your water-health measures (carpets, foam-stuffed sofas, computer monitors, paints, varnishes and smog)...

It doesn't sound rationale.

[ Parent ]
Re: on bottled water (none / 0) (#33)
by mac on Sat Sep 23, 2000 at 10:19:19 PM EST

Ok, thanks for the info. Well, let me try to allay your fears of me being a misguided wild fanatic health nut. I'm not much of a health freak. Like you mentioned, we are surrounded by a lot of pollutants and toxins, but there are ones which I can do something about, and there are some that I'll have to accept. Due to having my family and friends in Toronto, moving to a cleaner air town is not an option right now so I do have to accept that hazardous exposure to smog for now. Changing the water I drink, on the other hand, is well within my control. As for some of the other sources you mention (carpets, varnish, paint, etc.), those that I can control I do try to eliminate.

As far as I understand, toxins and other synthetic compounds accumulate in fat cells/lipids, and kidneys. Possibly other places too. I'll admit my knowledge is far from rock solid, this isn't my field of study, but just stuff I read in diluted-down scientific journals, such as the Berkeley Wellness Letter. I don't know what form (bound/unbound) the chlorine is in in the water, but considering it kills the living organisms in it, I think I can infer that it can't be that good for me either, no matter what form it is in.

Yes, in the absence of having tested the bottled water I drink, filtered water would probably be preferred as one can be somewhat more sure of the end result (but then again, that's only if I really checked how effective the filter is; there's been plenty of scams with water filters too). In either case, for the water choice to be rational one would have to test the water (which I plan to, thanks to your info).

$1k/year on water??? Wow, where do you get YOUR water? I get one of those huge office-water-cooler containers. The average cost is $6 (+$10 deposit, but that gets returned when you bring the container back). The brand is Crystal Springs, and I've seen them on the shelves for as long as I remember (so it's not Joe's Garage Garden Hose Water, Inc., that goes out of business in a week). It lasts me and my wife for about two weeks. $6*26 == $156/year!

I fully expect they check the bottled water for E. Coli before they ship it. I don't think that's such a stupid assumption. If they truly didn't, I'd be actually hearing stories on the news about incidents. (as an ironic side note, actually what has been on the news in the Toronto area -- well, Walkerton -- is that the municipal tap water there has been found to contain E. Coli and a handful of people died) Considering the scandal that an incident would cause for the company, and the imminent going out of business, I think they make mighty sure that they check.

[ Parent ]
Re: You would think... (3.75 / 4) (#9)
by sakico on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 12:54:01 PM EST

While I must admit that I can only speak for myself, I enjoy life. I enjoy living. I'm not sure quite what your definition of "interesting" is, but I don't think that what I would spend my time doing for endless days would fall under it.

Me, I enjoy relaxation. Sitting on a bench, reading a book, between my summer cabin (on a lake) and the water is as good as it gets. Happiness, sheer and complete. Family and friends to talk to, but other than that, peace and quiet.

I could easily do that forever. Granted, death comes to us all - and I won't fight it - but I'd still prefer that date be as far off as possible. Would you not welcome the chance to see your great grandchildren, see how the world changes over time, the new technology, the social changes, the inevitable(?) first contact, and all the rest? To be able to say that you were there, the day that it happened?

And perhaps the most interesting of all, to see whether Huxley or Orwell was the closest to the mark. Will either be our own Demosthenes, having created a self-fulfilling prophecy? Or will life simply go on, much like it has for the past three thousand years, with empires falling and rising leaving little more than traces?

Wouldn't you like to be there to see it? That's where the concept comes from. I suppose some people look at it as though they'll be happy if they live a longer life. I agree, this is faulty reasoning. I view it as lengthening the already existing happiness, but then.. I never did subscribe to the whole "Live hard and die young in a blaze of glory" concept. Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and their more recent counterpart Kurt Cobain simply aren't romantic heroes to me.

[ Parent ]

Who needs NY times registration? (2.83 / 6) (#4)
by Mrs Edna Graustein on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 11:51:03 AM EST

If you don't want to register with the NYtimes (does the cypherpunks/cypherpunks login still work?) you replace www.nytimes.com/??? with partners.nytimes.com/???

Thus to see the article without the login, go to http://partners.nytimes.com/2000/09/22/science/22AGIN.html
And if any of you put that in a .sig, I'll hunt you down and kill you twice. ;-)

Re: Who needs NY times registration? (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by 31: on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 02:10:20 PM EST

the nytimes has started wising up recently tho... or maybe just for things they consider important, sometimes partners brings you to the login too... might also try www10.nytimes...

[ Parent ]
Me: Staring at a Blank Wall for 65 Years (4.75 / 4) (#8)
by IoaPetraka on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 12:24:59 PM EST

If you are interested reading a fictional look into the effects of longevity in society, I recommend The Worthing Saga, by Orson Scott Card. It is an excellent read and illustrates the problems of an elite class of humans living longer than the "plebians" who cannot afford the treatment.

Personally, I don't really have an urge to live longer than the average amount of time as it is. Unless they come out with something that drastically increases lifespan. Not just 10 or 20 years. I mean really, our lives are over in a blink anyway, so why spend your whole life drinking odd vegetable drinks and staying away from delicious steaks just so you can live an extra heartbeat in the end?


I guess if you believe in reincarnation it also makes the whole thing a little silly, but that is just me.

Ioa Aqualine Petra'ka

Re: Me: Staring at a Blank Wall for 65 Years (3.33 / 3) (#12)
by aphrael on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 01:43:06 PM EST

Another, more personal take on the effects of longevity treatment, was Bruce Sterling's Holy Fire. It doesn't really talk much about societal effects, but it's nevertheless one of his best books ...

[ Parent ]
Re: Me: Staring at a Blank Wall for 65 Years (3.33 / 3) (#21)
by Matrix on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 03:25:08 PM EST

Yeah, those bits of the Worthing Saga were good. Unfortunately, IMHO, the rest sucked. (Sorry, but explaining would take too long and be too off-topic)

I think that prolong might be a good idea... once humans have expanded to other planets. We really don't need even more population pressure on Earth. I don't think anyone really knows how close we are to causing major problems, so I think we should be careful until there are colonies elsewhere that can continue the species even if Earth is demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass. ;-) But for expansion beyond Earth, or our solar system, this kind of knowledge could prove very handy indeed.

Personally, I'm not sure if I'd want to live longer or not... It would really depend on conditions at the time I had to make the choice.

"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

life span (3.00 / 3) (#10)
by Spider-X on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 01:09:19 PM EST

Well, for people that are afraid of death, this would be a good thing. However, they would be missing out on the joy that is death. Anyways, this research is old, I first heard about it over 5 years ago. I don't know why they are digging up old stories now. I voted it down because it's not well written up.
Tracking Number: X00369S16
out of curiosity (none / 0) (#11)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 01:20:07 PM EST

I voted it down because it's not well written up.

Why do you opine that the write up was not done well?

[ Parent ]

Re: out of curiosity (none / 0) (#20)
by Spider-X on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 03:15:20 PM EST

Well, it really didn't give me much to think about, and it didn't really catch my interest.
Tracking Number: X00369S16
[ Parent ]
Re: life span (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by khallow on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 02:20:14 PM EST

Well, for people that are afraid of death, this would be a good thing. However, they would be missing out on the joy that is death. Anyways, this research is old, I first heard about it over 5 years ago. I don't know why they are digging up old stories now. I voted it down because it's not well written up.

What is the "joy" in death? Besides we'll die anyway, no matter what wonderful technology comes around. Ok, I guess that downloading yourself into some superexotic hardware (a few billion times), lauching your "clones" into the empty areas between clusters of galaxies (a few billion year process most likely) has a nonzero chance of one of those guys surviving forever unless the universe collapses or something. So how does living considerably longer than before temper our appreciation for death?

Actually, let me answer that. By dramatically increasing the reaction of the public to any risk. For example, in a century or two it may be illegal to drive your own car. I.e., the risk involved in letting a human drive a car is now intolerable. Indulging in certain hobbies (like sky diving, wilderness backpacking or horse-back riding) might be a sign of insanity. A huge group of activities may be banned or limited simply because the perceived (not actual!) risk to society is too great.

Here's an example using death rates in US society today. If all causes of natural death were eliminated save death by accident or by homicide, then people would on average live to somewhere around 700 years. To live to an average few thousand years is achievable by a very careful citizen. But for everyone to live to an average life span of 10,000 years or more would require vast changes in today's society.

IMHO, this story should at least mention the most obvious effect of increased longevity. That people who benefit will be more risk-adverse. If only a small group benefits, then that group will need to implement a long view approach to preserve their power base and lifespan.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Re: life span (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by Spider-X on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 03:14:27 PM EST

the "joy" in death that I speak of is finding out exactly what it is... now we have no clue, but everyone finds out. And what if it turns out that by dying you turn into something greater? I'm not saying that's what happens, but what if it does?
Tracking Number: X00369S16
[ Parent ]
technically speaking that is not the joy of death (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 03:27:46 PM EST

the "joy" in death that I speak of is finding out exactly what it is...

If there is no resurrection (or reincarnation, or nirvanna, or condemnation ...) then there is nothing to be discovered and those that are dead have not found out anything, they have simply ceased to exist like the signal of a radio station that has been shut off. If the naturalists are correct, then there is nothing to be found out by dying.

now we have no clue, but everyone finds out. And what if it turns out that by dying you turn into something greater?

If there is a heaven (or hell or next life or nirvanna or ...) then simply delaying the process of death simply puts it off because as you have noted, if there is something after death, everyone finds out whether they have lived five minutes or five centuries.

In the meantime I intend to make the most of my life here and now. I happen to believe in the resurrection and life in the world to come, but I don't let that stop me from experiencing an abundant life while on this earth.

[ Parent ]

Who wants to live forever? (4.60 / 5) (#13)
by warpeightbot on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 02:07:56 PM EST

Two things limit how long I want to live:

  • I don't want to be bored. At least until the current century, once you've lived thru a third generation, pretty much everything is the same all over again. People are born, grow up, aspire to power, open whatever can of whoop-ass they have, it has its effect, and sooner or later they die. Once you've seen the first three or four Halloween movies, the rest quickly become irrelevant. Same thing with real life, eventually.....?

  • I don't want to be so decrepit as to not be able to take care of myself, nor be unable to make a positive difference on others. If I'm just sitting there draining others' resources and not giving anything back, put me out of your misery.

Other than that, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

May you live as long as you want to,
and want to as long as you live;
And when you're done with living,
May you be half an hour in Heaven before the devil knows you're dead!

-- Old Irish Blessing

Please keep in mind (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 02:41:29 PM EST

I don't want to be so decrepit as to not be able to take care of myself, nor be unable to make a positive difference on others.

Please keep in mind that just because someone is not able to take care of his or her self does not mean that he or she is unable to make a positive difference on others.

Think of Steven Hawking.

For that matter what does taking care of one's self really mean? I might be able to take care of all my physical needs, but without my family and friends taking care of me emotionally, I'd be a rubber band ready to snap.

Not to mention I'm quite dependent on the mercy of my employer to keep paying me and grocery store to keep stocking food.

[ Parent ]

Re: Please keep in mind (2.00 / 1) (#23)
by zbir on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 03:54:51 PM EST

>Not to mention I'm quite dependent on the mercy
>of my employer to keep paying me

Indentured servitude? Perhaps you're not in the tech industry (I admittedly assume most k5'ers are...) There are few other industries where the employees so control the conditions of their labor. It's one of the things I am grateful for each day. Despite my somewhat cynical .sig, I'm proud that I can find an abundance of work out there, and can command a decent wage doing it.
This is my cubicle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
[ Parent ]

Re: Who wants to live forever? (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by sugarman on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 03:14:17 PM EST

I don't want to be bored.

I share your sentiment, though I think that Goethe perhaps said it best:

If ever I lay me on a bed of sloth in peace, That instant let for me existence cease! If ever with lying flattery you can rule me So that contented with myself I stay, If with enjoyment you can fool me, Be that for me the final day!

Or you can check out the original.

Perhaps there are some benefits to a non-technical education =)

[ Parent ]

Cold also helps (4.33 / 3) (#16)
by skim123 on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 02:39:49 PM EST

Talking with a biologist friend of mine... he said that cold also helps postpone the inevitible. (Cold (and eating less) reducing the rate of cellular respiration, hence increasing the duration of cell rejuvination, hence increasing the length of lifespan.) So... if you really want to live long, live a cold and hungry lifestyle.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

More information (4.33 / 3) (#24)
by Darth Yoshi on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 04:21:09 PM EST

This is old news. Dr. Roy Walford (for one) has been doing research on caloric restriction diets since the 70's. If anyone is interested, he has a website with more information here. He has a sample diet and diet software available for download. You can also order his books online (surprise, surprise).

Other information sources... (4.75 / 4) (#25)
by Joshua on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 04:45:57 PM EST

This is a subject I have read a bit about, namely health, diet, nutrition and fasting... I thought I would link in some interesting and relevant websites...

People have known that eating less increases lifespan for a long time:

Also, there are some (IMHO) very interesting things about fasting here:
http://www.jesus-diet.com/stopeating.htm and
(FYI, I am not religous at all, but I still think this is internesting and worth reading)

Also, if anyone's interested, Herbert M. Shelton wrote a very good book on fasting called Fasting Can Save Your Life as well as another intesting book along similar lines called Food Combining Made Easy

I mention these because they interested me, and they may interest you. What do you all think? ;)

That's my $0.2

In search of knowledge (4.00 / 5) (#26)
by faichai on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 04:53:15 PM EST

As you can tell from my sig, I am a (wannabe ;) transhumanist. In that vein I want to live for ever, or at least until the great heat death of the Universe (although in that time we may well find a way out).

To be honest the idea of death never much appealed to me (funny thing that). I used to future-pace, and think about what it would be like not to exist. Pure nothingness. Not being a god fearing fellow, all I had to look forward to after death was a hollow, non-existence. As you can imagine, the meer thought of such nothingness scared the shit out of me. So the only way out of such thoughts was to have faith (yes...faith) in human endeavor that we will rid ourselves of our mortal inclinations.

But fear of death was not all that directed me towards my current beliefs.
I am a knowledge seeker. I have a natural desire to figure out how the Universe works, and thus my primary goal is to gain knowledge (pleasure and happiness also feature highly, but learning provides both of these IMHO). So being greedy I want to gain as much knowledge as possible, and the only the way to do this, is to both increase life-span, and decrease age-related mental degradation. Hence the longer I live, the more knowledge I can accumulate, and hence my continued happiness can be sustained. Perhaps even improved upon, as knowledge leads to insights and innovation, which make me happier still.

So I also see immortality as a route to sustained happiness and well-being. Not necessarily as a tool for increasing happiness directly, even though it may.

Above is a fairly selfish description of why Immortality/enhanced longevity is good for me. However, it is obviously not for everyone, and indeed it is the individual's choice, should the technology be available, whether or not to go down that path.

Economic factors may play a role, however the simple fact is that once it is possible, and the method is known, regardless of patents etc. the technique will be available in places with less respect for western IP laws. Hence 1 company will not have a global monopoly (think going to China and getting it done on the cheap!). Also the usual capitalist ideals of competition apply, providing alternative methods can be devised which don't infringe on competitor's patents (government granted monopolies).

I suppose, once it is deemed possible, does immortality become a right or a priveledge? If it is a right, then due to the fact that you will be taking up breathing space on this earth forever, would it be sensible to have a choice between immortality and children. And if so, who is going to enforce such policy? Big brother?

As for societal concerns and possible Ageocracy, I think there will be a global impact in the short term. However as the techology progresses and becomes cheaper, more efficient and more widely available, then in the long-term things will even out. Also an Ageocracy will only be immune to natural not unnatural death so think bullets ;) faichai

Re: In search of knowledge (3.00 / 2) (#28)
by Nyarlathotep on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 07:42:42 PM EST

I was raised an Atheists and I have never really been that affraid of death. I'd like to live a little longer, but it's not the most importent thing in my life.

I suppose I have always been happy with the limited kind of immortality associated to having my ideas be importent or useful. It just seems like saing or thinking the ight thing at the right time and making a useful contribution to human understanding is more importent.

It shure seems like we are our thoughs and ideas. A small part of the thinking of Einstein, Shakespear, Cauchy, Homer, etc. live on in anyone who studdies their works. Who could ask for a better immortallity?

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
Well, I could. (1.33 / 3) (#29)
by goosedaemon on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 09:17:31 PM EST

My ideas just aren't me. Sure, if I discover something especially enlightening, it'll never be forgotten, but some writing and/or neurons in brains aren't the same as my sentience.

[ Parent ]
keep in mind, mice != same as us (3.66 / 3) (#30)
by Barbarian on Sat Sep 23, 2000 at 03:59:48 AM EST

Okay, now that everyone's posted about immortality, just remember: what prolongs a mouse's life in the short term, may or may not be at all applicable to humans. We live a LONG time relative to mice, and it may be other factors that bring us down eventually besides diet -- do mice die of cancer much, for example? Perhaps spending time in the sun is our undoing. In summary, in matters relating to Mice and Men, what works for one may not work for the other.

Reminds me of Stars (2.00 / 3) (#32)
by Qtmstr on Sat Sep 23, 2000 at 01:50:23 PM EST

This reminds of the life cycle of certain kinds of stars. Small, cool
stars tend to live an extremely long time, (perhaps as long as the
universe itself), while giant stars use all their hydrogen in a few
million years and go out in a blindingly hot blaze.

This reminds of humans.

Kuro5hin delenda est!
The only problem with these studies is: (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by Lupus on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 02:37:22 AM EST

They are not conclusive. One quick study on rats does not really have much implication on humans. There are many things that could come into play even if you don't take into account the different variables that could affect the life span of a rat compared to the variables that could affect the life span of a human. It is important to remember that studies of what is good for you, and what is bad for you contradict each other all the time. For a while eggs were terrible for you, and could cause a heart attack, recently scientists say maybe they are not so bad after all. There are many other times when scientists have changed their minds about what can harm you and what helps you. People also tend the forget that without a certain amount of calories our bodies cannot run correctly, and there is also such a thing as good cholesterol. I guess the most important thing is to make sure that before people take these articles about nutrition to heart, they do a little research of their own first.

Re: The only problem with these studies is: (none / 0) (#36)
by henbjork on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 10:10:25 AM EST

I am sorry, but I have to correct you. The research about calorie restriction
does not consist of "One quick study on rats". If you want to know more
about the subject, why not go and search on MedLine, which you will find
on: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=PubMed
I have actually been practising calorie restriction for about a year after
doing some pretty serious literature studies about it. Some effects I have
noticed this far:
* I have reduced my daily sleeping period from about 10-12 h to
about 5-6 h.
* I feel a lot more awake and "on the edge" all the time.
* You don't have to feel hungry on calorie restriction if you plan your
meals well.
* Physical exercise feels *a lot* heavier than before.
* I have experienced a dramatic decrease in libido.
* I feel a bit cold most of the time, but I don't find that unpleasant.

If anyone has any questions on the subject, please email me.

-- Fredrik Henbjork
[ Parent ]
modern lifestyle kills.. is that news? (3.66 / 3) (#35)
by pirkka on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 08:27:32 AM EST

the medical/nutritional science is slowly understanding that typical diet enjoyed in western societies is NOT proper for human consumption. excessive consumption calories (leading to heart disease) is just one part of the problem.

the modern living is based on narcotics such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes. these mood altering substances along with brainless media habits (tv, tabloids, video games, bad porn) allow people to maintain a fragile balance of "well being" and "feeling good" while their bodies are turned into a biological wasteland.

the consecuences of unhealthy diet are well documented, but people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. instead they are turning to doctors for help, who in turn prescribe designer drugs to combat "tiredness", "attention deficit", "compulsive shopping" and other problems originating from poor health.

a typical person in today's society thinks that he can go on popping Bic Macs & soda and drive around in a car all day, still maintaining good health. of course we look healthy compared to Third Worlders dying like flies.

just because you have never experienced normal health (genetic birthright to most living beings) doesn't mean it's not worth striving for. i'm not saying it's not hard in the middle of our human-constructed reality, though..


myself, i've been "living on the fast lane" for my entire life (sugar (in form of soft drinks) and meat/white bread-dominated diet since kid, almost no exercise, stressful job in IT business, caffeine, the whole geek thing). costs of this hubris are high: severe food allergies, fatigue, depression, problems with studies..

this summer i finally did some research on nutrition and health, and after reading a few books it was not hard to stop craving for coffee, sugar and alcohol.

i'm not on a diet. it's just that when i see something containing sugar, i know the pros and cons of eating it. usually this means that i'm happy to not eat it.

people think that healthy lifestyle equals throwing away the joys of living, and that they'd rather take a shorter, more enjoyable life.

when i think of how much fun there's to be had interacting with people & nature, experiencing/creating music/art/games, eating proper food, practicing sex, being healthy while doing all this.. i have to say that's the most stupid thing i've heard in my entire life.

i've noticed some people realize these things by themselves when they get old. my grandma is one of them. myself, i had to read books to get it.

Why live forever? Because there isn't enough time (none / 0) (#37)
by zarchon on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 05:17:22 PM EST

Yup, I want to live forever. I wish it were so easy to achieve as clicking a tab. "But who wants to live forever?" you ask. Those who don't think there is enough time in one lifetime to do all the things that they want to do.

Take, for example, the field of physics or that of mathematics. We've generated so much knowledge in the past hundred years that it would take more than a century to just study everything that is currently known, let alone that which is unknown. And if you dedicate your short youth to the study of math and physics, as I seem to be doing, what about all those other areas of human endeavor that you're putting aside? If I become the greatest physicist that I can become, can I also develop my maximum skill as a fencer? How about as a race car driver? An historian? A musician? If I could set aside a century, or perhaps even a mere 50 or 60 years of my youth to dedicate to the development of whatever talent I may possess in every pursuit that I have a deep interest in, I would be a happier man.

There just isn't time in a mere century of life to do all of these things, let alone in the brief flower of my youth. So I must somehow content myself with just one or two pursuits. Yet even then mortality is not finished restricting my works, for some projects take more than one lifetime to complete. The conquest of space is a prime example of this. Space is so vast that the timescales involved to do anything cost significant portions of your lifespan. I won't be building any colonies around Alpha Centauri in my brief lifetime. How many people would begin a task that would take 1000 years to complete? How many would begin if they had no way of knowing that their work would be continued even 200 years after they passed on?

So yes, I want to live forever. Why doesn't everyone?

Eat Less, Live Longer | 37 comments (35 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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