As I’ve said, an app should be developed for living according to behaviors and outcomes desired for maximum health and the slowing of aging. Monitoring and hitting healthful targets for food choices and portion size could be as easy as 10,000 steps a day to understand and see on your telephone or wrist, and hit.
That app could show not just the process of each action, but the outcome – the goal is not just how many steps you walk, but your blood pressure or inflammation level.
Portion size matters.
As we embarked on a recent trip to Europe, we were fed a large breakfast as soon as we were seated in business class on a plane to San Francisco; I estimate it was 800 calories, not including 400 we rejected. On the flight from San Francisco to Munich, we were fed two large meals and several choices following a 200-calorie portion of salted nuts. Breakfast was more than 1,000 calories, and in between were constant offerings of snacks and drinks of 100 to 300 calories.
During the hour-plus flight from Munich to Barcelona, passengers were fed a meal of probably 2,000 calories of unhealthy lunch meats, along with two high-calorie deserts. Flights fro Barcelona to Prague, Prague to Munich and Munich to Chicago served up similarly heavy fare. Only the short flight from Chicago to Cleveland lacked an offer of food to plump you up.
Almost 70 percent of Americans over age 18 are overweight, and half of those are obese, with a body mass index greater than 30. On average, Americans’ BMIs are increasing .37 percent, or more than a pound a year; the average 65-year-old now weighs 25 pounds more than the average 65-year-old of 25 years ago. The consequences of lack of portion control mean Americans spend much more on health care.
In our book, “You Staying Young: The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty,” I and Dr. Mehmet Oz wrote of the 14 mechanisms postulated to be responsible for aging, how you can slow your rate of aging related to these now, and how a research breakthrough in any one might allow you to live to a calendar age of 160 with the quality of life you have now, maybe even the quality of someone younger.
One area was calorie restriction: Cutting 300 to 400 calories a day in 21 of 23 animal species tested achieved the equivalent of letting the animals live to 160 with a high quality of life. It turns out that eating 750 to 1,000 calories a day for five days a month and then resuming a normal diet not only slowed aging but led to regeneration of stem cells in a few cancer patients. A University of Southern California study taking this approach in worms, yeast and mice yielded 30 to 50 percent of the benefits of all the time calorie restriction.
So the USC doctors decided to do a randomized study of this fast for three months in humans, to see if they could do five days of 750 to 1,000 calories a day for three months and what the biochemical changes would be. Eighteen of 19 people 18 to 70 were able to complete the three-month trial. They have been less inflamed, they’ve lowered their heart and cancer risk profiles, and most importantly, they seemed to regenerate key stem cells.
Dr. Michael Roizen writes about wellness for the Cleveland Jewish News. He is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Follow him on Twitter @YoungDrMike.