Posted on Jun 24, 2019, 11 a.m.
Diets are a dime a dozen, a quick search will provide endless pages of results. But do any of these actually result in any benefits, and which ones give the most benefit when it comes to overall health? According to work from the Harper Cancer Research Institute published in Nutrition Research calorie restriction causes cancer cells to eat themselves, and it improves biomarkers of the disease.
Reducing calorie intake to unlock certain health benefits has been around for years, animal studies have shown it to have anti-aging benefits but we are still understanding how this translates to humans, and some scientists warn that calorie restriction may be unsustainable in the long run and may increase the risk of muscle and bone density.
In this study based on a 3D model it was noted that calorie restriction increased autophagy in colorectal cancer cells; autophagy is the process in which cellular material is degraded and recycled, allowing cells to remove damaged components for repair and maintain homeostasis.
Glucose reduction was reported to extend lifespan of normal cells while inhibiting growth of precancerous cells in a study published in The FASEB. A high throughput 3D cell culture model for colorectal cancer was used to compare changes in protein expression and phenotype caused by glucose and novine serum restriction, and assess how calorie restriction affected apoptosis and autophagy.
Both glucose and serum restriction were found to influence expression of proteins linked to cancer progression and metastasis. Calorie restriction was noted to cause upregulation of SIRT1 and protein inhibitor of activated STAT1, and to have caused downregulation of multidrug resistance protein, zinc finger, and BTB containing protein 7A. Additionally calorie restriction was found to increase autophagy rates, and affect regulation of certain protein that play roles in cancer progression.
Cell Metabolism published a study showing calorie restriction to lead to weight reduction, improved energy efficiency, and better aging associated biomarkers. However, most experts say such results should be taken with a grain of salt as the study was designed to inspire more research.
Calorie reduction can lead to long term benefits when paired with intermittent fasting. Unlike diets which limit certain foods, intermittent fasting is centered around when you should be eating and is an eating pattern using fasting and eating periods.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study finding sticking to the 5:2 intermittent fasting pattern had the most benefit, but following other intermittent calorie restriction plans can still benefit the body; 5:2 involves assigning 5 days of the week as eating normally while restricting calories to 5-600 a day for the other 2 days.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.