~Obesity, Part 9 - Appendix G - Appendix H


Calorie Restriction

Over 60 years ago, scientific experiments showed that dietary restriction dramatically increased the life span of rats, as compared with those that were allowed to eat as much as they wanted. One theory is that short-term caloric restriction stimulated an adaptive response to famine that shifted resources away from reproduction and toward self-repair to maintain life. This may involve a change in gene expression that stimulates the production of "stress proteins" and other protective mechanisms (Shanley et al. 2000; Mattson et al. 2001; Van Remmen et al. 2001).

The study of the genetic changes induced by calorie restriction has been the focus of extensive research by Dr. Stephen Spindler. Using advanced gene chip technology, Dr. Spindler was able to examine changes in 11,000 genes, including most of the genes involved in DNA repair, antioxidant metabolism, and protein synthesis (Lee et al. 1999).

Moderate calorie restriction has been shown to stimulate several anti-aging mechanisms, including:
  • Inhibiting programmed cell death (apoptosis) (Mattson et al. 2001)
  • Increasing protein synthesis and turnover (Lambert et al. 2000; Weindruch et al. 2001)
  • Increasing the production of antioxidant proteins resulting in less oxidative damage (Sohal et al. 1996; Lass et al. 1998; Zainal et al. 2000)
  • Stabilizing cellular calcium homeostasis (Mattson et al. 2001)
  • Increasing the secretion of growth hormone (IGH) to normal levels (Sonntag et al. 2000)
  • Increasing the resistance of neurons in the brain to dysfunction and increasing the number of newly generated neural cells in the adult brain (Mattson 2000)
The effects of a calorie-restricted diet on humans were inadvertently conducted on the 4 men and 4 women that lived in Biosphere 2 for 2 years. On the low-calorie, nutrient-dense diet, the men sustained 18% weight loss and the women sustained 10% weight loss, mostly within the first 6-9 months (Walford et al. 1999).

  • The Medical Examination
  • Body Fat Measurement
The Medical Examination

A well-trained medical physician should be consulted before beginning a weight-loss program. Your physician may do the following:
    * Take a careful medical history and perform a physical examination. * Inquire about your personal weight history, how long you have been overweight, and methods you have used to lose weight in the past. * Ask whether you have relatives with illnesses related to overweight, such as Type II diabetes mellitus or heart disease. * Evaluate your risk for obesity-related health problems by measuring your blood pressure and performing blood tests.
If your physician determines that you have obesity-related health problems or are at high risk for such problems, and if you have been unable to lose weight or maintain weight loss with non-drug treatment, he or she may recommend the use of prescription weight-loss medications. If your physician is considering using a prescription weight-loss medication, it is important to inform him or her of any of the following medical conditions:
  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding
  • History of drug or alcohol abuse or eating disorders
  • History of depression or manic depressive disorder and use of monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors or antidepressant medications
  • Migraine headaches requiring medication
  • Glaucoma or diabetes
  • High blood pressure, heart disease, or other heart conditions, such as an irregular heart beat
  • Plans for surgery that require general anesthesia
Body Fat Measurement

The amount of total body fat can be estimated in several ways:
  • One simple method is to measure waist circumference at the midpoint between the lower border of the ribs and upper border of the pelvis. The waist to hip ratio is calculated by dividing this measurement (in centimeters) by the circumference of the hips. This is a simple method of measuring abdominal obesity, although it is not very accurate in predicting actual abdominal fat.
  • Skinfold thickness can be measured using specialized calipers. The most common sites to measure are on the arms, legs, back, and abdomen. This method provides more information than the waist to hip circumference, but measurements are often variable, depending on the observer.
Bioelectrical impedance measures body electrical conductance and resistance. Electrodes are placed on the hands and feet and are connected to a special electronic instrument. This method is based on the difference in electrical conductance between fat, lean body mass, and water. This method is simple and practical.

For a listing of physicians in your area who might be knowledgeable in these innovative approaches, call the Life Extension Foundation at (800) 544-4440.To see a list of all supplements, please check our Index or use our Search feature.

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