Cutting calories isn't fun, but it does have its benefits, according to a new study. In addition to losing weight, people who restrict their daily caloric intake may be protecting themselves against age-related diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's as well as slowing the aging process. Sounds like good news to us!
A 2018 study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, looked at the metabolic effects of cutting calories. The first stage, aptly called named CALERIE (Comprehensive Assessment of the Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy), was the first time researchers tested what effect cutting calories had on metabolism. In the second stage, they recorded their results.
They found that decreasing daily caloric intake by just 15 percent reduces oxidative stress, which is linked to not only neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's but also cancer and diabetes. Even more exciting is that among the 53 participants who were studied during a two-year period, those who cut calories lost an average of almost 20 pounds without dieting. No patients reported negative side effects, such as anemia or menstrual disorders; in fact, in both trials, participants reported better overall mood and improved health-related quality of life.
Cutting calories by 15 percent might sound like you'll be forced to skip meals, but it's actually quite doable. If your daily calorie count is 2,500 (the the average calorie count of a healthy adult male), cutting 15 percent of your calories would mean consuming 2,125 calories per day. If you eat roughly 2,000 calories daily, you would only have to drop down to 1,700 daily calories; a daily intake of 1,700 calories would become 1,445. Not too bad, right?
Further research on the subject needs to be conducted, as the sample size in this study was quite small: Only 53 healthy, non-obese men and women between the ages of 21 and 50 were studied. Cutting calories to lose weight isn't a new idea, but it's nice to know that you can shed pounds without following any specific diet plan — and you don't have to starve yourself, either. (As always, consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to what you eat.)
Watch the video below for simple lunch swaps that will help you cut calories.