According to most anti-aging researchers, the only known way of maximizing life span is through a drastic reduction in calories. This involves a total caloric intake that averages 30% less than the usual intake of calories for most people. That is in most people of normal weight. Those who are obese consume considerably more calories, which is why they are obese (that, along with lack of sufficient physical activity or exercise). The usual caloric restriction diet involves a total daily caloric intake of 1,800 calories for the average size man and about 1,400 calories a day for women. In reality, however, most of those who follow caloric restriction (CR) regimes eat considerably less than this. This explains why many of the men who follow this regime are often 6-foot-tall and weigh no more than 125 pounds. If they actually consumed 1,800 daily calories, they would weigh significantly more than this. Yes, they do burn up some calories if they exercise, but since your metabolism tends to slow considerably with a lack of calories, most don't have the energy to work out more than a few minutes before fatigue sets in. They also tend to feel cold most of the time, again a result of their altered resting metabolic rate. From a bodybuilding point of view, the CR regime is horrific, since CR advocates show continually higher levels of cortisol, a primary catabolic hormone in the body. This elevated cortisol translates into smaller and weaker muscles. Adding to the bleak muscle picture are low levels of other anabolic hormones, including testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin, which would normally oppose the catabolic effects in muscle produced by cortisol.
While CR has been shown to produce lifespan increases in various species, such as fish, rats, mice, and dogs, from the perspective of mammals, of which humans are a member, the picture is less clear. A recent study of monkeys who were on CR-based diets showed no increased lifespan. However, the simians did show a reduction in the incidence of the primary causes of death in humans, such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. A few research scientists who have examined the effects of CR calculated that at most, a lifetime of consuming minimal calories would add 7 years to lifespan in humans. That's a rather poor return for eating what amounts to a starvation diet for 40 years or more. Other scientists have noted that to get the full benefit from CR would require starting the regime as a child, a near impossibility since the lack of protein and other nutrients would lead to early health problems based on nutrient deficiencies, and lack of normal growth.
To get an idea of the type of meals that CR advocates eat, consider the typical breakfast of Lisa Walford. Lisa is the daughter of Roy Walford, a former pathologist and one of the leading researchers in . . .