Stephanie Woods via NaturalHealth365 – Calorie restriction for weight loss is nothing new. Experts and healthcare professionals have been recommending it for decades to help those who want to drop a few pounds.
In fact, several studies have recently found that restricting calories can also improve your health and even prolong your life.
What’s So Wrong With the American Diet?
The American diet is inundated with processed foods that are barely recognizable as food, loaded with glyphosate, sodium, sugar, and chock full of preservatives. Combine this with the extreme excess that is not just accepted but promoted and encouraged in modern society. It’s easy to see why type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, and neurodegenerative disorders are so prevalent and rapidly growing each year.
This unhealthy diet is responsible for chronic health conditions and the breakdown of the body. Organs are impacted, so they don’t function as they should, which causes fatty liver, disorders of the gallbladder, and blockages in arteries leading to the heart.
The digestive system begins to malfunction with conditions like acid reflux and IBS. Even the chemical makeup is altered, which leads to anxiety and depression.
What Is a Healthy Caloric Restriction?
Caloric restriction is simply a different way of looking at eating. While most people think it is just limiting the calories they eat each day, it is actually a little more than that. There is a two-prong approach to caloric restriction:
- Limiting or restricting how many calories you consume each day
- Get enough nutrients to avoid malnutrition
This means making every bite count and taking a good multivitamin every day, as well as staying well-hydrated.
So How Does Restricting Calories Extend Life?
Certain cellular changes occur within the body when a person follows a caloric restriction diet. Scientists have identified five benefits:
- Increase sirtuin function – These proteins regulate cellular health. They also help protect cellular components when the body is under stress.
- Increase AMPK activity – This enzyme helps to regulate metabolism, which helps with weight loss and all over bodily function.
- Reduce mTOR activity – This protein is linked to chronic disease and aging, so reducing its activity can help stave off many harmful conditions.
- Block cellular senescence – It helps prevent cells from aging, which prevents older cells from no longer functioning as they should.
- Encourage autophagy – This means to compel cells to remove damaged, older components inside and replace them with healthy, new ones.
Each of these actions helps protect the body against the effects of aging, accelerated aging, and chronic disease.
Here Is How to Follow a Caloric Restriction Plan
A calorie restriction diet is not easy for most people, and it can be unpleasant. The good news is, as your body adjusts to the new way of eating – and receives more nutrients – your hunger will actually subside and return to normal.
In addition, your ghrelin and leptin levels will stabilize, giving you a better handle on your hunger and returning it to a healthier cycle.
These tips will help you succeed at following a caloric restriction plan:
- Talk to your doctor. An integrative physician – with nutrition experience – can help you determine how many calories you should consume and how you should balance carbohydrates, fiber, fat, and protein.
- Keep a food diary. There are many great apps you can use, such as MyFitnessPal, which calculates your calories, fat, carbs, protein, and other nutrients and helps you with important information about the food you eat. It can also be used on your computer as well as the app.
- Stay hydrated. Even low-level dehydration can cause you to feel run down and sick. It can also impair how your body functions, particularly when processing the foods you eat.
- Stick to whole foods. Avoid processed foods and stick to whole, natural foods like organic fruits and vegetables, 100% grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish. And, don’t forget the nutritional value of organic sprouts, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices.
- Consume only high quality, nutritional supplements. For many people, correcting nutritional deficiencies can make a world of a difference, especially as it relates to vitamins B, C and D. Plus, let’s not forget the importance of getting enough zinc, selenium and magnesium.
- Eat enough fiber. Fiber is important for keeping your heart and body healthy. It also keeps you from getting constipated. Just remember, you’ll need both soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Sleep well. Your health is greatly affected by your sleep habits. Most people would feel better by getting 6 – 8 hours of quality sleep – every night – for optimal body and brain performance. Make sure your bedroom is dark; avoid using electronic devices about 1-2 hours before bedtime and, if needed, do some kind of activity to help you to “wind down” like, a warm bath or deep breathing exercises.
What’s the bottom line? A caloric restrictive diet can help you prevent or reverse chronic health conditions, help you lose weight, reduce the signs of aging, and help you feel better. It is well worth the effort, and you are going to love the benefits.
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