Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Will You Live Long Enough to Enjoy your Wealth?

There's not much point in applying all the wonderful tips you learn reading PF blogs if you end up a millionaire but die at 50!. Aside from the obvious health tips - don't smoke, drink in moderation, drive carefully, avoid high-risk activities (unsafe sex, drug use, freestyle rock climbing, cave scuba diving etc.) the most important keys to living long (and healthy) enough to enjoy your wealth are getting enough exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight/BMI.

Personally I'm overweight and need to modify my diet to a more healthy one so I can get down to my ideal BMI in a healthy way (no crash dieting!) and then maintain it for the rest of my life. I've read up a bit on CRAN (calorie restriction with adequate nutrition) which basically means reducing the amount of calories you eat while watching out that you are still getting the optimal amounts of vitamins, protein, fat (yes, some IS needed) and carbohydrates. Up to now CRAN has been mostly theoretical, based on observations and experiments with short life-span animals. This research showed that when a test animal's diet was restricted to about 25%-40% less calories than would be eaten in a totally "unrestricted" diet, the average life-span was extended (up to 50%) and a more healthy old age resulted (although there's not much evidence that it increases the maximum possible life-span).

It now appears that longer-term experiments with longer-lived species that are more similar to ourselves are providing more evidence that CRAN is likely to be beneficial to humans wanting to live longer and healthier life-spans. See this article for a very interesting update that shows the very positive effects of CRAN on monkeys.

Personally, applying CRAN means reducing my average daily calorie intake from around 3,200 kcals down to a healthy 2,000 kcals by eliminating junk foods - I tend to snack on icecreams, sweets, chocolate, biscuits etc. which are all totally unnecessary (and expensive!). I'm hoping to reduce my BMI from 31.5 (100 kg) down to 22.1 (70 kg) by the middle of next year. I think I'll add this goal as another bar graph in my blog to help track my progress!

1 comment:

d33p said...

Those graphs in your sidebar are great! Is that a plugin or something, or do you have to hand code them? I'd love to be able to reproduce them if they're freely available.