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August 30, 2005

Eat Little, Live Longer?

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Have you been feeling as though you ought to commit to drastically restricting the calories you take in? After all, don't you owe it to yourself to live to 125? Yet -- hard to know exactly why -- there's something about eating like a mouse that doesn't appeal ...

A couple of scientists have just delivered some good/bad news that you may find interesting.



posted by Michael at August 30, 2005


Wasn't it Benjamin Franklin who said "A life lived without good eats is not a life worth living"? Whoever said it, I live by that philosophy and believe that a life of thick juicy steaks, crisp dripping bacon and Meatsa Pizza is worthy of losing a few years over. After all, skiing and bicycling carry risks that statistically decrease my life span but I'm not stopping those either. As long as I dont go overboard ...just pleasantly plump.

Posted by: harv on August 30, 2005 6:11 PM

Alas, my cast iron frying skillet must stay well seasoned, you know.

Southern cooks fry EVERYTHING, except for pecan pie, of course.

Hmmm, wonder what...nah.

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on August 30, 2005 9:51 PM

Hazzah! Scuse me whilst I go snag a donut from the galley....

Posted by: Yahmdallah on August 31, 2005 9:55 AM

Harv -- You sound like one of those "I live to eat, I don't eat to live" guys. The Wife's a foodie too, so I've been brought into that whole world (and mindset) a bit. It rocks: poetry, sensuality, conviviality, earthiness, etc.

Pattie -- Southern fried cooking, yum. I have a Southern friend who likes to say, whenever the topic of health and eating and longevity comes up, something along the lines of "I didn't think the point of life was to see how long you can extend it. I thought the point of life was to live it."

Yahmdallah -- Makes you wonder why we ever give the scientists any credence at all, doesn't it? Eggs: good for you or not? Fat: likewise. They're going to make some exciting breakthrough, then change their minds six months later.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 31, 2005 10:06 AM

This seems to echo the findings of a study of weight-related mortality that you linked to a few weeks (?) back. In that study, it appeared that the lowest mortality was experienced by people who are, in fact, slightly overweight. It also showed evidence of a complex human relationship to weight, in that a higher weight predisposed people to some life-shortening conditions, while reducing other negative outcomes (like the incidence of lung cancer). Net-net, more weight seemed a positive, at least in moderation. You had to be truly remarkably obese for it to actually shorten your life appreciably. I also recall looking at body-weight life-span charts from different historical eras, all of which suggested a principle of the 'golden mean'--the very skinny and very fat had decreased life spans, while those in the middle had longer lives and better health (on average.)

None of this visibly reinforces the notion that systemic underfeeding automatically extends human life-span.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on August 31, 2005 10:32 AM

Eat little and breathe lightly, too -- don't feast on oxygen. Yes, this reminds me of the school of thought that favors shallow breathing as a live-prolonging technique.

Posted by: Alexei on August 31, 2005 10:42 AM

Leaving the health question aside, I don't enjoy heavy meals as I once did. Maybe it's an age thing. How people can down giant portions of pasta or big helpings of meat and potatoes or foot long hero sandwiches and then not feel uncomfortable is beyond me.

Posted by: ricpic on August 31, 2005 12:37 PM

Heard a program on WABC Radio's "Coast to Coast" last night with guest Dr Gabriel Cousens, the "raw foods" guru. He still claims that RFs jump-start anti-aging genetic components, and advocates juice fasts and calorie restriction to boot. So the debate goes on. I was more impressed by the fact that he can do 600 pushups a day in his 60s (or so he SAYS).

Posted by: winifer skattebol on August 31, 2005 10:58 PM

Sure you might live longer ... or it might just feel that way.


Posted by: Peggy Nature on September 1, 2005 9:48 AM

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