Calories Count

Can you eat yourself to death?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

A stick of butter can make ANYTHING taste good. But oops… Calories galore! They can add to our waistline. But could excess calories also speed up our metabolism, or even how fast we AGE?

Enter Leanne Redman at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. She kept tabs on two groups of healthy volunteers for two years. One group reduced their calorie intake by fifteen percent. Others didn’t change their diet. Throughout the study, Redman tracked the participants’ weight.

RESULTS?! Those who watched their calories lost weight, and also adapted to a SLOWER metabolism. Which means they didn’t need as much food to keep their body running. Scientists also measured FEWER free radicals in their bodies. Free radicals make small changes to our D-N-A, causing the cells to age. Therefore, Redman thinks, consuming fewer calories MIGHT slow down aging.

And slower aging might mean you are less likely to get a disease like cancer, which tends to affect more older people.

But at least there’s wine. That has calories too? Dammit!