Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Late Clive McCay, Life Prolongation and Caloric Restriction

Honoring Clive McCay and 75 Years of Calorie Restriction Research” is the title of an interesting article summarizing research on prolongation of life through caloric restriction.  It summarizes the pioneering research conducted by Clive McCay, an American researcher that started investigating this area in the 1930’s!

McCay used ‘mature’ rats that were given the opportunity to grow and develop. He then restricted calories without restricting nutrients. This resulted in a significant prolongation of life. Since, this finding was replicated by many. Nowadays the fact that caloric restriction prolongs life does not need extra proof. Researchers are merely trying to to explain this phenomenon. As usual there is a focus on the physiology to try and develop drugs that will prolong life.  I think we should just take this caloric intake life extension relationship as a fact and focus our effort on finding ways of applying it. McCay did that by designing McCay’s loaf, a nutrient dense loaf.

I will leave with the link to the article. Yet, I would like to give you my own perspective:

1.       The best way to reduce calories while taking in all needed nutrients is to eat nutrient dense food. These foods would have favorable nutrients: caloric ratio. The obvious foods that fall under this category are fruits and vegetables.

2.       We should not rob our food from their nutrients through processes or improper storage and cooking. This will obviously reduce the nutrients: caloric ratio.

3.       We should reassess our obsession with focusing on calories as the focal point when assessing foods. We may use the nutrients: caloric ratio or just nutrients contents.

Carbohydrates and fats are nutrients, however in this context they are considered to be calories. I would add to this any excess protein that will be processed as calories. This differs than the conclusion that McCay made. He considers protein as a nutrient that needed to be increased. McCay’s loaf had wheat germ (high nutrient caloric ratio), dry milk, and high fat soy flour (high protein) was added to flour. The research conducted by T Campbell shows that over consuming animal proteins propagates cancer.

McDonald, R. & Ramsey, J. Honoring Clive McCay and 75 Years of Calorie Restriction Research. J. Nutr. July 2010 vol. 140 no. 7 1205-1210 http://jn.nutrition.org/content/140/7/1205.full
Campbell, T. Colin, and Thomas M. Campbell II. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health. First Edition. BenBella Books, 2006.

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