November 1, 2006

Low-calorie diets may increase lifespan OR Nature kicks me in the pants

Yesterday's Science Times had a very interesting article summing up current research that shows a low-calorie diet, in which you still receive all the essential vitamins and minerals, can significantly increase lifespan by preventing aging and diseases associated with old age. Cool if you want to live healthy and a long time (me); sucky if you like food, a lot (me).But wait. Today's Times included an article about resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, that when taken in large quantities can prevent many diseases without requiring a change in diet. So, I could potentially keep eating the food that I love and just take this magic pill to live longer? Aha, revenge! Of course, much testing still has to be done before the results are really verifiable. I had actually read about this research some time ago and had written it off as a back-of-the-magazine miracle treatment that is too good to be true. I might have been wrong.It is also interesting in that resveratrol may explain the so-called French paradox: the French eat fattier food but have a far lower frequency of obesity in comparison to Americans. They also drink a ton of red wine. The article indicates it would take upwards of a 1000 bottles of red wine for an effective dose, but perhaps prolonged moderate consumption of red wine has enough of an effect.