This is probably the worst time of year to break this kind of news, but put the bowl of marshmallow Santas down for a moment and listen up. According to new research reported by AFP, eating a calorie-restricted diet can help you live longer. And that’s just the start. Very strict low-calorie diets have been linked to improved cognitive abilities and memory, less aggression, and a diminished likelihood of contracting Alzheimer’s.
The theory behind low-calorie health improvements is that eating less triggers a protein molecule, CREB1, that activates genes linked to both longevity and optimal brain function. CREB1 also regulates anxiety, memory, and learning ability. Generally, the function of this protein is compromised by the aging process, but scientists believe that extremely strict diets can slow the degeneration of CBEB1.
Of course, there are quality of life questions that have to be addressed. Is a life without gummy bears and duck pate worth living for an extra five years? But the idea that eating less could slow cognitive decline is pretty persuasive. Of course, it would also be completely understandable if you wanted to put your fingers in your ears for the next two weeks and think about this in the new year.