Anti-Aging Diet

The Anti-Aging Diet, created by Dr Roy L. Walford and Lisa Walford, is based upon research done at UCLA and Cornell medical schools, which supports the belief that a diet low in calories and rich in certain nutritional foods will prevent aging. 

The Premise

Dr Walford’s research showed that restricting calorie intake would increase a person’s lifespan. By eating a diet that is 30 to 50% of recommended calorie intake, individuals supposedly can increase their lifespan by 30%. To avoid malnutrition, the Anti-Aging Diet is organized around nutrient-dense foods and supplements.

The Anti-Aging Diet is based around the notion that human beings have a set point weight that stays steady if an individual eats a normal diet. The research of Dr. Walford showed that if an individual is able to maintain a weight 10 to 25% below the set point will experience increased longevity. Dr. Walford recommends that individuals slowly work to acquire this lower weight, taking up to two years to reach the ideal weight.

The Diet

While on the Anti-Aging Diet, individuals will focus on eating foods that are nutrient-dense. These foods are high in fiber, such as nuts, fruits, lean meats, poultry, fish, soy and egg whites. A small amount of good fat is recommended through avocados and olive oil. Additional nutrient-dense foods include brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, tofu, nonfat milk and shitake mushrooms. The diet meal plan includes three low calorie meals a day. Recommended supplements include an array of vitamins, fatty acids and nutrients.

There are two methods for the Anti-Aging Diet—rapid orientation and gradual orientation. Gradual orientation allows for dieters to slowly adapt to this calorie restrictive diet over time. During the first week, dieters will eat one meal a day that is nutrient dense. This increases by one meal a week until all meals are rich in nutrients. During this phase, there is no limit to how much a person can eat. After two months, dieters will begin to switch meals to low-calorie meals that are still nutrient-dense.

What to Get Excited About

The primary benefit of the Anti-Aging Diet is that research shows individuals on this diet may improve their overall health and be able to prevent diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Things to Consider

If you are under 21, then this is not the diet for you. A diet this low in calories impairs growth and development, especially mental development. While on a diet that is this low in calories, there are numerous health risks. Risks include loss of strength and stamina, increased sensitivity to cold, headaches, decreased ability to heal wounds, menstrual irregularities and decreased levels of testosterone.

Verdict

While this diet may help decrease the aging of the heart and lengthen lifespan, this diet may not be a good choice for many people. The Mayo Clinic does not recommend any diet that falls below 1,200 calories per day. If a 50% reduction of your recommended daily calorie intake puts you below 1,200 calories, then you should reconsider going on the Anti-Aging Diet. While some science supports the research behind the Anti-Aging Diet, the restrictive nature of this diet may make it difficult to maintain on a long-term basis. 

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