What are the biggest component of your metabolism?

Your metabolism refers to the millions of chemical processes that keep your body alive and functioning.

It is related to weight because it influences the amount of energy your body needs at any given point. Take in more energy than you need, and the excess will be stored as fat.

Nonetheless many people are quick to blame a “slow metabolism” for their weight gain, when in fact they need to make better food choices and exercise choices.

The biggest component of your metabolism – accounting for 50 to 80 per cent of the energy used each day – is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the energy your body burns just to maintain functioning at rest.

(Other influences include how much physical activity you do, and the ‘thermic effect’ of the food you eat – that is energy you use to digest and absorb your food.)

While there are many pills, supplements and foods that claim to boost metabolism and burn fat, most of these claims are unproven, says Tim Crowe, associate professor in nutrition at Deakin University.

Even if they did work, they might come with unintended side effects, such as increasing your heart rate, he says.

Nonetheless, it can be helpful to know what factors do affect your metabolism, as some of them are within your control. And even knowing you have factors you cannot control may nonetheless be useful as it can motivate you to take extra care to compensate for the issue, perhaps by being more vigilant about your diet and exercise.

Here are 10 factors that affect BMR and metabolism:

1. Muscle mass – that is, the amount of muscle tissue on your body. Muscle requires more energy to function than fat. So the more muscle tissue you carry, the more energy your body needs just to exist. (While most forms of exercise will help boost muscle, resistance or strength training is most effective: for example lifting weights and exercises that work against the resistance of your body weight such as push-ups, squats and lunges.)

2. Age – As you get older, your metabolic rate generally slows. This is partly because of a loss of muscle tissue, and also because of hormonal and neurological changes. When babies and children go through periods of growth, their metabolism speeds up.

3. Body size – People with bigger bodies tend to have a larger BMR because they usually have larger internal organs and fluid volume to maintain. Taller people have a larger skin surface, which means their bodies may have to work harder to maintain a constant temperature.

4. Gender – As men are usually larger than women, they generally have faster metabolisms.

5. Genetics – This can also play a role in whether you have a slower or faster metabolism, and some genetic disorders can also affect your metabolism.

6. Physical activity – Regular exercise increases muscle mass and encourages your body to burn kilojoules at a faster rate, even when at rest.

7. Hormonal factors – Hormonal imbalances caused by certain conditions, including hypo- and hyperthyroidism, can affect your metabolism.

8. Environmental factors – The weather can also have an effect on your metabolism; if it is very cold or very hot, your body has to work harder to maintain its normal temperature and that increases the metabolic rate.

9. Drugs – Caffeine and nicotine can increase your metabolic rate, while medications including some antidepressants and anabolic steroids can contribute to weight gain regardless of what you eat.

10. Diet – Certain aspects of your diet can also affect metabolism. For instance if you don’t have enough iodine for optimal thyroid function, it can slow down your metabolism.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2015-11-12/what-really-affects-your-metabolism/6934608

Degenerative Joint Disease by Dr Axe

DJD 2DJDThe primary goals of all degenerative tissue disease/osteoarthritis or arthritis treatments are to lower inflammation/swelling, control pain, improve mobility and joint function, help maintain a healthy weight so you put less pressure on fragile joints, and to improve your mood — so you’re better able to handle the stress of battling a degenerative disease.

1. Stay Active

While most people with osteoarthritis usually have joint pain and some movement limitations, many find that they feel better and experience less symptoms overall when they keep moving. In fact, exercise is considered one of the most important treatments for degenerative joint disease. Like the old saying goes, “Move it or lose it.” In other words, the more you strengthen and stretch your body parts, the better intact they’ll stay into older age.

Exercise is important for lowering inflammation, increasing flexibility, strengthening muscles (including the heart), boosting circulation and supporting a healthy body weight. It helps keep joints and bones strong and limber, improve heart health/cardiovascular fitness, extend the range of motion of joints, and move synovial fluid throughout the body better. Plus, let’s not forget about the mental benefits of exercise. Getting regular exercise is a powerful way to lower stress, improve your mood, control stress hormones like cortisol and help you sleep better.

Because every DJD patient is different in terms of physical abilities and pain level, the amount and form of exercise prescribed depends on each person’s specific condition and how stable the joints are. You want to ideally do a combination of three types of exercises for osteoarthritis: (5)

  • strengthening exercises targeted at improving strength in muscles that support effected joints — such as knee strengthening exercises
  • aerobic activities to improve blood pressure, circulation and inflammation
  • range-of-motion activities to keep joints flexible and help you become more comfortable with daily movements

Some of the most beneficial, and least painful, types of exercise include walking, swimming and water aerobics. If exercise is painful at first or you’re just beginning to become more active, your doctor and/or physical therapist can recommend specific types of exercise that would be safest and most helpful. Start slowly and find ways to sneak more fitness into your day while you build up resilience and strength.

2. Lower Inflammation and Support Cartilage with a Nutrient-Dense Diet

Research suggests that a poor diet increases inflammation and might increase enzymes that destroy collagen and other proteins important for maintaining healthy tissue. Cartilage is about 65 percent to 80 percent water, and the remainder is made up of three components: collagen, proteoglycans and chondrocytes.

Collagen is a type of fibrous protein that acts as the body’s natural “building blocks” for skin, tendons, bone and other connective tissues. Proteoglycans interweave with collagen to form mesh-like tissue that allows cartilage to absorb shocks and vibrations, while chondrocytes mostly produce cartilage and help it stay intact as we get older.

Some of the ways you can help the body hold on to precious cartilage and lower inflammation is to load up on all sorts of natural anti-inflammatory foods. These provide essential fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that support the immune system, lower pain, and help with healthy tissue and bone formation.

Focus your diet around these foods as much as possible:

  • fresh vegetables (all kinds): Aim for variety and a minimum of four to five servings per day
  • whole pieces of fruit (not juice): three to four servings per day is a good amount for most people
  • herbs, spices and teas: turmeric, ginger, basil, oregano, thyme, etc., plus green tea and organic coffee in moderation
  • probiotic foods: yogurt, kombucha, kvass, kefir or cultured veggies
  • wild-caught fish, cage-free eggs and grass-fed/pasture-raised meat: higher in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D than farm-raised varieties and great sources of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients like zinc, selenium and B vitamins. Vitamin D has been shown to help support arthritis patients, so consider adding in more raw dairy if possible too. (6)
  • healthy fats: grass-fed butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts/seeds
  • ancient grains and legumes/beans: best when sprouted and 100 percent unrefined/whole
  • Bone broth: contains collagen and helps maintain healthy joints

Limit or eliminate these foods that promote inflammation:

  • Refined vegetable oils (like canola, corn and soybean oils, which are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids)
  • Pasteurized dairy products (common allergens) and conventional meat, poultry and eggs, which contain added hormones, antibiotics and omega-6s that contribute to inflammation
  • Refined carbohydrates and processed grain products and added sugars (found in the majority of packaged snacks, breads, condiments, canned items, cereals, etc.)
  • Trans fats/hydrogenated fats (used in packaged/processed products and often to fry foods)

 

Degenerative joint disease stats - Dr. Axe

 

3. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Carrying excess body weight puts strain on joints that are already delicate. (7) Osteoarthritis patients who are overweight should try to reach a healthy body weight in a realistic way, using a well-balanced diet and adding in more movement. This should be viewed as a long-term lifestyle change, not a quick-fix diet that’s very low in calories and will likely result in nutrient deficiencies that are needed to limit further injuries.

4. Get Enough Rest/Relaxation

When you don’t get enough sleep, downtime and relaxation in your life, your joints and muscles have a harder time repairing themselves, while your stress hormones, body weight and inflammation all tend to rise. You need to get enough sleep every night (seven to nine hours usually) in order to relieve joints from stress, keep stress hormone levels balanced, regulate your appetite and repair damaged tissue. Learn to recognize your body’s signals, and know when to stop or slow down and take a break, so you avoid becoming anxious, overexerted and run-down.

5. Control Pain Naturally

Dealing with pain can be one of the hardest things about battling degenerative joint disease, since it takes away from your quality of life, ability to do your job well and independence. Many doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory medications (like NSAIDs) or even surgery to dull pain if the situation becomes bad enough, but you can also use non-drug pain-relief techniques that are just as effective. Some popular complementary and alternative therapies that help fight pain include:

  • Acupuncture: Studies show that patients receiving acupuncture normally have less pain than patients in placebo control groups. Acupuncture is proven to help lower symptoms of back and neck pain, muscle aches and joint stiffness, osteoarthritis, and chronic headaches. (8)
  • Massage therapy: A professional massage can help improve circulation, bring blood to sensitive areas, relax the mind and lower stress.
  • Reflexology: Reflexology has been used for hundreds of years to stimulate the nervous system and help the body handle stress, fatigue, pain and emotional problems.
  • Infrared sauna treatments: Both heat and cold (or both together, used at different times) can be useful for loosening up joints and muscles and lowering swelling or pain. (9) At home you can use warm towels, ice packs, hot packs or a hot shower to reduce pain. Also consider trying infrared saunas, which are a type of sauna that uses heat and light to help relax the body by creating heat and causing you to sweat and release stored toxins. They’ve been shown to lower pain and are believed to have a parasympathetic healing effect, which means they help the body handle stress better.

What Causes Osteoarthritis/DJD?

People with DJD don’t maintain enough healthy cartilage as they age, which means movement becomes more painful as bones rub closer to one another, instead of being blocked by the slippery substance that’s supposed to act as a buffer between the bones. We need cartilage to help bones “glide” and also to absorb vibrations or shocks we experience when we move around, which is why most people with degenerative joint disease find it hard to go about normal day-to-day activities.

When the disease progresses enough, bones rub together in a way that causes inflammation, swelling, pain, loss of mobility and sometimes changes to the shapes of joints.

Here’s a quick overview of how joints work. Joints are the point where two or more bones are connected, and they’re made up (in most cases) of the following parts: cartilage, joint capsule (tough membrane sacs that enclose all the bones), synovium (located inside the joint capsules and responsible for secreting lubricating synovial fluid) and synovial fluid (buffers and lubricates the joints and cartilage). (10)

In people who don’t suffer from DJD or other forms of joint damage (like rheumatoid arthritis), their joints are encased in smooth cartilage and lined with synovial fluid that helps with the “sliding” of cartilage against bones, bones against muscles and muscles against connective tissues.

In severe cases of degenerative joint disease, joints start to become smaller and also to change shape while small deposits of bone (osteophytes, which are sometimes also called bone spurs) can also form around the edges of the joints where they shouldn’t be. The main problem with bone spurs is that at any time they can break off from the cartilage they grow on and make their way into the space where the joints are, further causing pain and complications.


Connie’s comments: My 82 yr old mother has DJD and is taking the following: supplement with turmeric and ginger, omega 3 oils, Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C, exercise, destress, massage oil with ginger, coconut and other essential oils of rosemary, eucalypytus and tea tree and whole foods of greens and yellow colored foods.

50 yr old male, with hypertension, lacks sleep and wants to lose weight

As we age, we need digestive enzymes (supplements or pineapple/papaya), do a liver detox once a month, de-stress with dancing or yoga, exercise 30 min a day like walking, cross-fit (lighter weights first – I go to nc.fit in Stevens Creek Santa Clara) and find ways to incorporate whole foods in our diet.

Background:

  • Family History: Hypertension
  • Health complaints current and past: Stress disorder. High cholesterol.
  • Diet: High carb
  • Exercise: Some light
  • Sleep: Horrible

To help a 50 yr old male who wanted to lose weight, I suggested the following:

  • Get good sleep (search this site) and add the following supplementation at night: Calcium with magnesium Vit C, Vit K and D , melatonin and add a 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar in drinking water before going to bed.
  • In the morning to drink warm water with lemon and maple syrup and one soft boiled egg for breakfast.  Drinks to include: coconut water, aloe vera juice, make your own home made juice of cranberries, apples, pear, grapefruit (only when not taking meds), tea and decaf coffee (avoid coffee for a month if possible, only before exercise in the morn)
  • Before noon time, exercise (30 min cross fit, walking/jogging)
  • At lunchtime, avoid pork and processed foods with trans-fat (fried), and add whole foods (colored ones, lots of sulfur rich foods such as garlic, onions, yellow colored and red) in the diet of fish and veggies. Add olive oil, avocado, walnut and sesame seeds. Avoid sugar, soda, energy drinks, alcohol, caffeine and juices (not home made).
    Remember that fiber-rich foods help in removing bad fats and sugar from our cells.
  • At dinner time, add sweet potatoes with skin, asparagus, nuts, 3 bites of favorite not fried meat.
  • Use these essential oils for mouth wash (homemade), massage or added as few drops in drinks (spearmint, peppermint, lemon grass, rosemary).  Get a foot massage (includes body) in the bay area Foot Massage spa places (costs $25 for an hour). You may bring your own massage oil and add EPSOM salts in the foot soak bath.
  • Suggested lab tests: whole blood panel for men, gut microbiome, DNA Exome WGS test and a physical exam with an internist and endocrinologist
  • Avoid being over medicated and do check with you doctor about your meds and other info (diet, supplements,health concerns).
  • Check or monitor for any symptoms such as head ache, migraine, aches and pains, skin allergies, dry mouth or skin, gum disease, eye disease and all signs and symptoms exhibited by your body (keep a note and email your doctor).
  • Avoid allergy causing substances and food (cheese, milk,corn) and for more tips email COnnie at motherhealth@gmail.com.
  • Do refer Motherhealth caregivers to homebound seniors who suffered from stroke, and other health issues , 408-854-1883
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Rheumatoid arthritis: increased inflammation among smokers and toxic drug-induced liver failure

I wish to comment on the following topics, Rheumatoid Arthritis, inflammation and liver.  Rheumatoid Arthritis brings pain to sufferers and is exacerbated by smoking and over medication, taxing the liver. When pain happens, the liver is giving a signal that it can no longer detox the body.  The best route is to clean the body from inflammation starting with the liver. I always tell my mom and other seniors to eat whole foods that are anti-inflammatory, cleansing such as yellow , sulfur rich foods (e.g., garlic, onions, lemon grass, citrus, greens, turmeric, ginger and other veggies).

Connie

Toxic drug-induced liver failure during therapy of rheumatoid arthritis with tocilizumab subcutaneously: a case report
Friedrich Anger; Armin Wiegering; Johanna Wagner; Johan Lock ; Johannes Baur
Should Rheumatology be a core discipline of a chronic pain multi-disciplinary team?: Rheumatology and chronic pain
Matthew Palethorpe ; Natalie Latcham; Suresh Selvaraj; Marwan Bukhari
Intercentre variance in patient reported outcomes is lower than objective rheumatoid arthritis activity measures: a cross-sectional study
Nasim Ahmed Khan; Horace Jack Spencer; Elena Nikiphorou; Antonio Naranjo ; Rieki Alten
Comment on: Increased inflammation and disease activity among current cigarette smokers with rheumatoid arthritis: a cross-sectional analysis of US veterans: reply
Jeremy Sokolove; Harlan Sayles; Ted Mikuls
Comment on: Increased inflammation and disease activity among current cigarette smokers with rheumatoid arthritis: a cross-sectional analysis of US veterans
William S. Wilke
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What triggers your pain?

A 60 yr old woke up with leg pains. Her diet consists of meat and rice. She does not exercise but she works as a caregiver. I suggested some health tips for her that includes: whole foods diet with strong enzymes from fruits and veggies, dandelion tea or lemon grass, exercise and to apply and massage with oil mixed with essential oils of eucalyptus and other oils.

What aggravates or triggers your pain? What time of day do you feel the pain? What age did it start?

Please answer the following survey to identify the genes, environment,diet, behaviour, and other unknowns that trigger your pain.

Calorie restricted diet to live long and healthy

Not only did their calorie restricted diet ( CR) monkeys look remarkably younger – with more hair, less sag, and brown instead of grey – than monkeys that were fed a standard diet, they were healthier on the inside too, free from pathology.

Cancers, such as the common intestinal adenocarcinoma, were reduced by over 50%. The risk of heart disease was similarly halved.

And while 11 of the ad libitum (“at one’s pleasure,” in Latin) monkeys developed diabetes and five exhibited signs that they were pre-diabetic, the blood glucose regulation seemed healthy in all CR monkeys. For them, diabetes wasn’t a thing.

Overall, only 13% of the monkeys in the CR group had died of age-related causes in 20 years. In the ad libitum group, 37% had died, nearly three times as many. In an update study from the University of Wisconsin in 2014, this percentage remained stable.

The idea that what a person eats influences their health no doubt predates any historical accounts that remain today. But, as is often the case for any scientific discipline, the first detailed accounts come from Ancient Greece. Hippocrates, one of the first physicians to claim diseases were natural and not supernatural, observed that many ailments were associated with gluttony; obese Greeks tended to die younger than slim Greeks, that was clear and written down on papyrus.

Spreading from this epicentre of science, these ideas were adopted and adapted over the centuries. And at the end of the 15th Century, Alvise Cornaro, an infirm aristocrat from a small village near Venice in Italy, turned the prevailing wisdom on its head, and on himself.

If indulgence was harmful, would dietary asceticism be helpful? To find out, Cornaro, aged 40, ate only 350g (12oz) of food per day, roughly 1000 calories according to recent estimates. He ate bread, panatela or broth, and eggs. For meat he chose veal, goat, beef, partridge, thrush, and any poultry that was available. He bought fish caught from the local rivers.

Restricted in amount but not variety, Cornaro claimed to have achieved “perfect health” up until his death more than 40 years later. Although he changed his birthdate as he aged, claiming that he had reached his 98th year, it is thought that he was around 84 when he died – still an impressive feat in the 16th Century, a time when 50 or 60 years old was considered elderly. In 1591, his grandson published his posthumous three-volume tome entitled “Discourses on the Sober Life,” pushing dietary restriction into the mainstream, and redefining ageing itself.

With an additional boost of health into the evening of life, the elderly, in full possession of their mental capacities, would be able to put decades of amassed knowledge to good use, Carnaro claimed. With his diet, beauty became the aged, not the youthful.

Longevity trials

Cornaro was an interesting man but his findings are not to be taken as fact by any branch of science. Even if he was true to his word and did not suffer ill health for nearly half a century, which seems unlikely, he was a case study of one – not representative of humans as a whole.

But since a foundational study in 1935 in white rats, a dietary restriction of between 30-50% has been shown to extend lifespan, delaying death from age-related disorders and disease. Of course, what works for a rat or any other laboratory organism might not work for a human.

(Credit: Getty Images)

It may sound obvious, but what you choose to put in your trolley can have a profound effect on the length and quality of your life (Credit: Getty Images)

Long-term trials, following humans from early adulthood to death, are a rarity. “I don’t see a human study of longevity as something that would be a fundable research programme,” says Mattison. “Even if you start humans at 40 or 50 years old, you’re still looking at potentially 40 or 50 more years [of study].” Plus, she adds, ensuring that extraneous factors – exercise, smoking, medical treatments, mental wellbeing – don’t influence the trial’s end results is near impossible for our socially and culturally complex species.

That’s why, in the late 1980s, two independent long-term trials – one at NIA and the other at the University of Wisconsin – were set up to study calorie restriction and ageing in Rhesus monkeys. Not only do we share 93% of our DNA with these primates, we age in the same way too.

Slowly, after middle age (around 15 years in Rhesus monkeys) the back starts to hunch, the skin and muscles start to sag, and, where it still grows, hair goes from gingery brown to grey. The similarities go deeper. In these primates, the occurrence of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease increases in frequency and severity with age. “They’re an excellent model to study ageing,” says Rozalyn Anderson, a gerontologist from the University of Wisconsin.

Sherman is the oldest Rhesus monkey ever recorded, nearly 20 years older than the average lifespan for his species in captivity

And they’re easy to control. Fed with specially made biscuits, the diets of the 76 monkeys at the University of Wisconsin and the 121 at NIA are tailored to their age, weight, and natural appetite. All monkeys receive the full complement of nutrients and minerals that their bodies crave. It’s just that half of the monkeys, the calorie restricted (or CR) group, eat 30% less.

They are far from malnourished or starving. Take Sherman, a 43-year-old monkey from NIA. Mattison says that since being placed on the CR diet in 1987, aged 16, Sherman hasn’t shown any overt signs of hunger that are well characterised in his species.

Rhesus monkeys given a stricter, low calorie diet lived longer (Credit: Getty Images)

Rhesus monkeys given a stricter, low calorie diet lived longer (Credit: Getty Images)

Sherman is the oldest Rhesus monkey ever recorded, nearly 20 years older than the average lifespan for his species in captivity. As younger monkeys were developing diseases and dying, he seemed to be immune to ageing. Even into his 30s he would have been considered an old monkey, but he didn’t look or act like one.

The same is true, to varying extents, for the rest of his experimental troop at NIA. “We have a lower incidence of diabetes, and lower incidence of cancer in the CR groups,” says Mattison. In 2009, the University of Wisconsin trial published similarly spectacular results.

Not only did their CR monkeys look remarkably younger – with more hair, less sag, and brown instead of grey – than monkeys that were fed a standard diet, they were healthier on the inside too, free from pathology. Cancers, such as the common intestinal adenocarcinoma, were reduced by over 50%. The risk of heart disease was similarly halved. And while 11 of the ad libitum (“at one’s pleasure,” in Latin) monkeys developed diabetes and five exhibited signs that they were pre-diabetic, the blood glucose regulation seemed healthy in all CR monkeys. For them, diabetes wasn’t a thing.

Overall, only 13% of the monkeys in the CR group had died of age-related causes in 20 years. In the ad libitum group, 37% had died, nearly three times as many. In an update study from the University of Wisconsin in 2014, this percentage remained stable.

The results show that ageing itself is a reasonable target for clinical intervention and medical treatment – Rozalyn Anderson

“We have demonstrated that ageing can be manipulated in primates,” says Anderson. “It kind of gets glossed over because it’s obvious, but conceptually that’s hugely important; it means that ageing itself is a reasonable target for clinical intervention and medical treatment.”

If ageing can be delayed, in other words, all of the diseases associated with it will follow suit. “Going after each disease one at a time isn’t going to significantly extend lifespan for people because they’ll die of something else,” says Anderson. “If you cured all cancers, you wouldn’t offset death due to cardiovascular disease, or dementia, or diabetes-associated disorders. Whereas if you go after ageing you can offset the lot in one go.”

Calorie restriction involves a permanent reduction in a diet (Credit: Getty Images)

Calorie restriction involves a permanent reduction in a diet (Credit: Getty Images)

Eating less certainly seemed to help the monkeys, but calorie restriction is much tougher for people out in the real world. For one, our access to regular, high-calorie meals is now easier than ever; with companies like Deliveroo and UberEats, there is no longer a need to walk to the restaurant anymore. And two, gaining weight simply comes more naturally to some people.

“There’s a huge genetic component to all of this and its much harder work for some people than it is for others to stay trim,” says Anderson. “We all know someone who can eat an entire cake and nothing happens, they look the exact same. And then someone else walks past a table with a cake on it and they have to go up a pant size.”

Ideally, the amount and types of food we eat should be tailored to who we are – our genetic predisposition to gaining weight, how we metabolise sugars, how we store fat, and other physiological fluxes that are beyond the scope of scientific instruction at the moment, and perhaps forever.

But a predisposition to obesity can be used as a guide to life choices rather than an inevitability. “I personally have a genetic history of obesity running through my family, and I practice a flexible form of caloric restriction,” says Susan Roberts a dietary scientist at Tufts University in Boston. “I keep my BMI at 22, and [have calculated] that that requires eating 80% of what I would eat if my BMI was at 30 like every other member of my family.” Roberts stresses that it isn’t hard – she follows her own weight management programme using a tool called iDiet to help her eat less but avoid feeling hungry or deprived of enjoyment. If this wasn’t possible, she adds, she wouldn’t practise calorie restriction.

Not only has Roberts seen the problems of obesity first-hand in her family, she knows the benefits of CR better than most. For over 10 years she has been a leading scientist in the Comprehensive Assessment of Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy trial, also known as Calerie. Over two years, 218 healthy men and women aged between 21 and 50 years were split into two groups.  In one, people were allowed to eat as they normally would (ad libitum), while the other ate 25% less (CR). Both had health checks every six months.

Unlike in the Rhesus monkey trials, tests over two years can’t determine whether CR reduces or delays age-related diseases. There simply isn’t enough time for their development. But the Calerie trials tested for the next best thing: the early biological signs of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Published in 2015, the results after two years were very positive. In the blood of calorie-restricted people, the ratio of “good” cholesterol to “bad” cholesterol had increased, molecules associated with tumour formation – called tumour necrosis factors (TNFs) – were reduced by around 25%, and levels of insulin resistance, a sure sign of diabetes, fell by nearly 40% compared to people who ate their normal diets. Overall, the blood’s pressure was lower.

Significant health benefits may be garnered in an already healthy body, but further trials are needed

Admittedly, some benefits may come from weight-loss. Earlier trials from Calerie had included people that were obese as well as those with a healthy body mass index (BMI) of 25 or below, and slimming down would have certainly improved the welfare of the heavier participants. “One thing that’s been very clear for a long time is that being overweight or obese is bad for you,” says Roberts. Diseases and disorders previously thought to be age-associated diseases are now popping up in the obese population, she adds.

But the latest results suggested that significant health benefits can be garnered in an already healthy body – a person who isn’t underweight or obese. That is, someone whose BMI lies between 18.5 and 25.