MushroomNovaCat t1_j81f8rp wrote

It's not a straw man, my point was that diet is not monitored in most of these studies as was noted in the study you linked and even when diet is monitored, it is still not equal because fiber is used to supplement the diets of the animals eating the calorie restricted diet, therefore the diets are not equal in nutritional value. There's more to a good diet than low amounts of highly processed foods as I noted in a different comment, a low amount of consumed animal products along with a good amount of fiber and adequate consumption of all essential amino acids, proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals is also needed.

There has not been a study that has established why caloric restriction results in increased health and longevity therefore we can't say that it's not the co-factors associated with caloric restriction (i.e., better diets, intermittent fasting, fasting correlated with circadian rhythms, etc.) that are primarily responsible for the beneficial effects rather than the restriction of calories itself.

My purpose in pointing out blue zone diets was to demonstrate that health and longevity do not require caloric restriction. My point was also to demonstrate that caloric restriction leads to hunger and hunger leads to impaired mood and cognition which has also been well documented in other studies. Caloric restriction has benefits but we can reap those benefits through a good diet, without restricting calories, without going hungry, and without affecting our mood and cognitive abilities.


MushroomNovaCat t1_j80o8cy wrote

I'll also add that we don't see the mood and cognitive effects of caloric restriction monitored in these studies. We already have several studies demonstrating that "hangryness" is real and has negative effects on mood and cognition which once again, circles back to my original comment. Just because we can recognize the benefits of certain practices even if we don't precisely understand them doesn't mean that those practices are sustainable or that they don't affect other areas negatively.


MushroomNovaCat t1_j80guu4 wrote

This particular study did not monitor diet so no, that question has not been answered. It's not understood why caloric restriction improves health and longevity, there are various competing theories which were outlined in a study someone else linked in a comment.


MushroomNovaCat t1_j7xk1sq wrote

We can say that it wouldn't lead to the same result. There have been numerous studies linking highly processed foods to disturbances in the gut microbiome that lead to inflammation and chronic diseases which are far less prevalent in societies that have maintained their traditional cuisines, free or nearly free from highly processed foods.


MushroomNovaCat t1_j7x5j76 wrote

Thank you for pointing this out. It was exactly my point in my comment. How can caloric restriction be said to lead to better health and longevity when it's inextricably linked to better diets? Wouldn't the better diet be assumed to be the real determinant? Is calorie restriction necessary at all or is it simply better diets that lead to better health and longevity? I think the answers are pretty clear, particularly when you consider what's known about the diets and cultural factors of so-called blue zones.


MushroomNovaCat t1_j7x4cjp wrote

A healthy diet is one which contains a low amount of animal products and highly processed foods along with a good amount of fiber. In recent years we have become aware of the effects of highly processed foods in our gut microbiome and how chronic diseases are linked to inflammation caused by poor diets.

Calories being equal, a serving of plainly cooked farro is healthier than a serving of white bread in the same manner that a serving of grapes is healthier than a serving of wine, etc. because of the inflammatory effects and associated chronic diseases linked to highly processed foods.

We have known for a while that calorie restriction works, we don't know why it works, there are various competing theories. People do not like to be hungry, it affects their mood and their cognitive abilities. The point of my comment was to stress that it may not be necessary to restrict calories in order to promote health, that link has not been definitively established because the cause for improved health and longevity through caloric restriction has not been determined.


MushroomNovaCat t1_j7x2276 wrote

Yes, we know caloric restriction works, my point wasn't to point out that it doesn't work, my point was to point out that we don't know that it leads to better health because of the lower caloric intake or because of other associated factors as was profusely discussed in the study you linked.

Your second link discussed research suggesting that when we eat is important as well, which we have also known for a while, but this has nothing to do with determining the reason why caloric restriction leads to better health and longevity. We still don't know if it's the associated factors that are responsible rather than the lower intake of calories itself.


MushroomNovaCat t1_j7w9959 wrote

Because the diets of the participants were not analyzed, only a caloric deficit was tracked, and the results therefore can't be used to claim that sustained caloric restriction itself is a necessary predictor of better health outcomes. Someone eating an appropriate amount of calories from a good diet might have the same or better health than someone eating an unhealthy calorie restricted Western diet. In other words, it's not necessary to eat less calories than recommended to be healthy, calorie restriction is not practiced in areas known for health and longevity. There are various factors that go into good health and a long life that have been identified in blue zones but calorie restriction is not one of them.


MushroomNovaCat t1_j7vykcw wrote

A while ago I saw an interview with a group of seniors who practiced calorie restriction for health reasons. They all moved and spoke like they lacked energy and looked generally miserable though that might have been the upper middle-class snobbery.

Given the poor quality of most Western diets which have been well established as conducive to inflammatory diseases, the results of this study might be a good example of correlation not indicating causation. Eating less food might improve health because of a reduction in inflammation caused by a poor quality diet, not necessarily because less calories are consumed. To my knowledge, calorie restriction has not been associated with longevity or any positive health outcomes in so-called blue zones:

We're at a point where we know what leads to healthy, long lives, there's no need to rewrite the alphabet in that sense, or more precisely, to eat less calories than we should, we simply need to restructure society so that we can practice what we know is good for us.


MushroomNovaCat t1_iy9cwkt wrote

I agree. In the past we lived in smaller, close knit groups where we socialized all day with each other. Now that there are many of us and our daily work has become highly specialized and solitary many of us spend more time alone by necessity. I don't think it's wrong to use what social connections we have access to in order to preserve our mental health even if they don't provide ideal social interaction.