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Living Longer: Calories that Count (Longevity - live to 158!)
PBS - Stealing Time series ^ | ? | Dr. Roy Walford

Posted on 12/26/2002 7:47:46 AM PST by theFIRMbss

Living Longer: Calories that Count


By Dr. Roy Walford

The maximum life span of humans is about 110 years; of mice, about 39 months. Thus far, mice over 39 months of age have not been produced by anything except selective restriction of calories in the diet. Calorie restriction (CR) has extended the 39-month maximum life span of mice to an impressive 56 months, which would correspond proportionally to a 158 year-old human. And the long-lived mice stay youthful in appearance, in mental and physical abilities, and show enhanced resistance to disease. These well-established facts are why the CR diet is now one of the principal areas of research in gerontology, and is receiving major emphasis from the National Institute on Aging.

So let's run briefly through the history of this remarkable CR phenomenon, and discuss what precisely it is, how and why it works to retard aging (to the extent that this is known), and whether it will work as dramatically in humans as it does in rodents. Historically, the field's development can be divided into five phases:

(1) The demonstration that mean and maximum life spans are greatly extended in rodents by a CR diet. This was first shown at Cornell University as long ago as 1935, and has been confirmed dozens of times elsewhere, right up to the present time. Also, the frequencies of a wide variety of diseases -- including virtually all types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, autoimmune disease, ocular degeneration, plus others -- have been documented as being greatly reduced in CR animals. The reduction ranges from twofold to as much as tenfold. (For example, 50 percent of female control mice of a particular genetic strain develop breast cancer, but only 5 percent of the same strain if on a CR diet.)

(2) CR's effect on life span has been dramatic in every species so far tested, from invertebrates (spiders, worms, etc) up through fish and rodents. One may cautiously presume that it may be a "general" effect, and not simply a rodent phenomenon.

(3) How CR animals look, how they respond in tests of mental and physical abilities, their levels of blood sugar, insulin, blood lipids, blood pressure, and essentially all their physiologic parameters correspond to those of chronologically much, much younger animals. This area of research, namely the effect of CR on physiologic systems, was first opened in my laboratory in the early 1970s, with the immune system as representative yard stick. Over the past twenty years, we've continued this research for biochemical, endocrine, molecular genetic, and behavioral markers in a number of university laboratories.

(4) The search for the mechanism whereby a selective restriction of calories exerts such global effects upon so many systems; and finally

(5) The question whether those same effects would obtain in primates including humans. Can human aging be slowed and life span extended by a CR diet, and by how much?

What precisely is the CR diet? Giving animals fewer calories than they would consume by choice makes them live longer, with enhanced faculties, and with fewer diseases, but these fewer calories cannot come from the mouse counterpart of the typical junky American diet. While reduced in calories, the quality of the diet must be increased so that essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are not reduced. The reason the semi-starved populations in parts of Africa or the Orient don't live longer is that they are not only calorie restricted, they are malnourished. The "adequate nutrition" side of CR is essential. Given that, then the fewer the calories, the longer the life, down to about 50 percent restriction in rodents, and the other beneficial effects noted above follow along proportionately. In other words, CR is not an all or none phenomenon. Even 10 percent restriction has a measurable beneficial effect. Of course, there is a lower limit. Below 50 percent takes you into actual calorie starvation, and the death rate increases. Fifty percent restriction is not recommended for humans. That's too close to being too few in the way of calories!

What is the mechanism behind CR's marvelous effects? If we knew the mechanism, perhaps we could achieve the same results by an easier method than restricting food intake. One thing is certain. The effect is only related to calories. As long as essential nutrients are present, the relative amounts of protein, carbohydrate, and fat make no difference. Life is extended and health is enhanced. Beyond that simple fact, we have an embarrassment of possibilities. The mechanism of CR can be interpreted according to most of the current theories of aging:

• CR increases the ability of the body to repair damaged DNA,
• Definitely decreases oxidative (free radical) damage in the body,
• Increases the levels of certain protective/repair proteins that respond to stress,
• Improves glucose-insulin metabolism,
• Delays age-related immunological decline as shown by virtually all immune functional tests.

CR is the strongest cancer-preventive technique known, although it's important to point out that disease prevention is a side effect of CR, and not the primary reason for the age-retardation or life span increase.
Dr. Richard Weindruch and I postulated some years ago that the mechanism is related to an increase in "metabolic efficiency." This can be thought of as leading to less "friction" in the body's generation of energy. Others have referred to this concept as "improved glucose fuel use." From the standpoint of evolutionary theory -- another approach to understanding the mechanism -- it has been proposed that CR kicks into play an "adaptive response." This response allows animals, faced by episodic periods of food shortage in the wild, to shift more of their metabolic energy into maintenance and repair, and so outlive or survive the period of deprivation.

In the one closely monitored human study (inside Biosphere 2 for two years), CR sharply lowered blood cholesterol (by up to 35 percent), blood sugar and blood insulin (by 15 to 20 percent), blood pressure (20 percent or more), and induced other changes paralleling those seen in CR rodents and (more recently) monkeys.

Human Application

Will CR retard aging (and do all the other wonderful things it does in lower animals) in primates, including humans? My answer is, "It almost certainly will." I say "almost" because it has not been applied in either monkey or human studies long enough to allow the demonstration of a change in maximum life span. Monkey studies will answer this first, and they are ongoing in three different laboratories (University of Wisconsin, University of Maryland, and the National Institute on Aging). It may be 10 to 12 years before we have unequivocal results. (Monkeys live a long time, although not as long as humans.)

So much for the "almost." The "certainly" in my answer is because (a) as so far tested, CR works across the whole animal kingdom, so it would indeed be surprising if it did not work in humans, and (b) studies on monkeys in the above three laboratories, and by me on the humans secluded for two years inside Biosphere 2, show quite clearly that the extensive physiologic and biochemical changes seen in CR rodents are also found in CR primates, including humans.

See one day in the life of a calorie restricted diet...

# For more information about the calorie restricted diet and Roy Walford, visit his Web site.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aging; calorierestriction; death; diet; health; healthfood; life; nutrition
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It sounds persuasive.
Still, it is from PBS.
Anyone tried it?
1 posted on 12/26/2002 7:47:47 AM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: theFIRMbss
I'd rather live only until 80 with about 10 years (70 to 80) as a hobbling old person rather than live to 160 with 90 years as a hobbling old person or wheelchair bound.
2 posted on 12/26/2002 7:50:01 AM PST by xrp
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To: theFIRMbss
Gee, eat less overall, but consume healthier foods, and you'll live longer...where do I get in on these studies???

Can I get a grant to determine why there are only 8 buns in a bag but 10 hot dogs in a package?

3 posted on 12/26/2002 7:53:20 AM PST by IYAS9YAS
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To: theFIRMbss
You get to live to be 150, but you have to eat three heads of cabbage each day...
4 posted on 12/26/2002 7:56:58 AM PST by T. P. Pole
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To: T. P. Pole
>The effect is only related to calories. As long as essential nutrients are present, the relative amounts of protein, carbohydrate, and fat make no difference.
>>...three heads of cabbage

Zone Perfect people
probably have a leg up.
They get good balance...

5 posted on 12/26/2002 8:05:54 AM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: theFIRMbss
There have, of course, been many involuntary calorie-restriction diets. None have produces 100+ year lifespans.

On the other hand, my parents are both in their mid-nineties and just now beginning to have problems living alone. They did it the old fashioned way -- by having long-lived ancestors. My father was a smoker for over twenty years, and quite a bit overweight by official standards. He was active, but never did anything just for "exercise". Neither has ever been on any of the fad diets -- low fat, low cholesterol, etc.

6 posted on 12/26/2002 8:11:46 AM PST by js1138
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To: theFIRMbss
Shouldn't this be on the History Channel?
7 posted on 12/26/2002 8:20:01 AM PST by Drango
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To: theFIRMbss
Yeah right on be on social security for 90 years and in a nursing home for 60

Who the hell is going to pay for that
8 posted on 12/26/2002 8:24:26 AM PST by uncbob
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To: theFIRMbss
Why would I want to live to 150 with a BS diet (go see what you get to eat on the links), when I can live to be 100 and eat what I want ?

Besides that. I have to just hold out till about 100 (2070)by then anti agathics shuold be available or some form of nanotech rejuventation.

9 posted on 12/26/2002 8:25:06 AM PST by Centurion2000
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To: T. P. Pole
You get to live to be 150, but you have to eat three heads of cabbage each day...

And spend a third of your life on the toilet, so it averages out the same anyway...

10 posted on 12/26/2002 8:29:32 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: theFIRMbss
If you don't enjoy good food wine and friends it will at least seem like you live longer, time will seem to pass slowly and life will be boring.
11 posted on 12/26/2002 8:31:15 AM PST by Free the USA
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To: theFIRMbss
Check out the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. They've been doing nutritional studies and cancer studies for years and the data supports the article. I'd love to live to 150 and beyond.
12 posted on 12/26/2002 8:33:05 AM PST by Gary Boldwater
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To: theFIRMbss
It only follows that a restrictive diet eliminates sugar, which is high in calories.

For those who have cancer or loved ones that do, please eliminate sugar from the diet, which only feeds the cancer cells and keep them alive and happy...Cancer loves sugar.

sw

13 posted on 12/26/2002 8:36:52 AM PST by spectre
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To: theFIRMbss
As much as it makes sense in the lab, I think it has little relevance to the real world. In animal populations such as moose and deer, the biggest male gets to increase his gene pool the most by mating with the most females of their species. Low weight is generally associated with high birth fatalities. Taller people (who get that way by eating more calories, especially protein) live longer and are more wealthy then their shorter peers.

I could go on, but there seems to me many examples where healthy, well-fed members live longer, prosper more, and add more to the gene pool than their weakened, smaller counterparts. Also, in the wild it would be extremely difficult to reduce calories without reducing nutrients, given that the food supply for all members is basically the same, which would imply that nutrients are proportional to calorie intake, generally speaking.

I would take a well-fed (but not obese) member of a species any day over a small rival. I should admit that I am a very healthy male of 6-1, and have no desire to be the weakling on the block.
14 posted on 12/26/2002 8:42:53 AM PST by Fractal Trader
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To: theFIRMbss
It's all a matter of degree. Lots of people live on a much lower than average caloric intake, to various degrees, and statistically they quite reliably live longer than people who eat more and are heavier throughout their lifetimes. At 5'4" and 108 pounds I'm probably going to live a good deal longer than if I went through my adult life at 125 or 140 pounds. And I'd probably live longer if I cut my caloric intake further to where I hung around 100 pounds.
15 posted on 12/26/2002 8:47:05 AM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: uncbob; xrp
Read the article more closely -- a calorie restricted diet doesn't just extend the amount of time you live, it also drastically delays the aging process. You won't be hitting the wheelchair 'til your 130 or so.
16 posted on 12/26/2002 8:48:45 AM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: CheneyChick; vikingchick; Victoria Delsoul; WIMom; one_particular_harbour; kmiller1k; GOPJ; ...
((((((growl)))))



17 posted on 12/26/2002 8:49:14 AM PST by Sabertooth
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To: spectre
Excess sugar is ceratinly bad, but so is a diet like the one linked to above, which is way short on essential fatty acids. No matter though, as the research shows that the proportion of fat, protein, and carbs can be varied without losing the anti-aging effect, so long as the total calories are kept restricted.
18 posted on 12/26/2002 8:51:21 AM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: theFIRMbss
Hmmmm this article is making me hungry. Pizza anyone?
19 posted on 12/26/2002 8:56:54 AM PST by Blue Highway
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To: theFIRMbss
bttt
20 posted on 12/26/2002 9:03:42 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Sabertooth; theFIRMbss

21 posted on 12/26/2002 9:15:36 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: theFIRMbss
bump for reading after lunch (salad, rice cracker and a large pizza with extra cheese.)
22 posted on 12/26/2002 9:19:26 AM PST by hillsborofox
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To: theFIRMbss
About 5 years ago I had a college professor tell my class about the long range effects of a restricted calorie diet.
Here is a sample diet plan:
http://www.pbs.org/stealingtime/living/diet.htm

Not a bad as I imagined, but you would have to be a pretty disciplined person to stick to it.

As far as living to 150...too depressing to contemplate.
23 posted on 12/26/2002 9:19:43 AM PST by CaptainK
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To: theFIRMbss
A restricted calorie diet does not make you live longer. It just seems that way.
24 posted on 12/26/2002 9:30:35 AM PST by Bubba_Leroy
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To: theFIRMbss
Whaaa? When I get up, I eat bacon. For lunch I eat bacon

For dinner, a big plate of bacon! Sometimes I cook it.

At 158, you'll look like a mummy and will smell bad.

Your kids will be dead and your grand-children will avoid you like poison.

Naaaah... 68 is good enough for me.

25 posted on 12/26/2002 9:44:43 AM PST by johnny7
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To: T. P. Pole
"...eat three heads of cabbage each day..."

Thats a bad thing? Admit it, you live in Wisconsin but youre a transplant, right?

26 posted on 12/26/2002 9:48:24 AM PST by gnarledmaw
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To: CaptainK
As far as living to 150...too depressing to contemplate

Yep, as the US slides inexorable towards socialism, I'm not sure I want to be around in 100 years.

Unless I get phasers and the state has to wear red shirts.

27 posted on 12/26/2002 10:00:40 AM PST by hattend
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To: Gary Boldwater
>Check out the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

Thanks. I'll check them out.
In "The Anti-Aging Zone,"
Barry Sears also

gets on-board this bus.
The change doesn't have to be
drastic, just balanced

and carefully planned.
I'm afraid I might be too
impulsive. Maybe.

28 posted on 12/26/2002 10:07:01 AM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: theFIRMbss
Krispy Kremes n a good multiple vitamin mineral supplement
29 posted on 12/26/2002 10:17:35 AM PST by joesnuffy
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To: T. P. Pole
You get to live to be 150, but you have to eat three heads of cabbage each day...

Who would want to be around anyone that eats three heads of cabbage a day! Can you imagine some old guy thats been doing it for 50 yrs. WHEW!

30 posted on 12/26/2002 10:24:16 AM PST by vikzilla
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To: PatrickHenry; Quila; Rudder; donh; VadeRetro; RadioAstronomer; Travis McGee; Physicist; ...
((((((growl)))))



31 posted on 12/26/2002 10:25:43 AM PST by Sabertooth
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To: joesnuffy
I have to admit, they had me until I saw the recipe:

Anti-Aging Manicotti
Serves 4

This is a nutrient-rich low calorie version of one of our favorite dishes. Notice the unusual addition of the sweet potato. It makes the noodle stuffing rich, and adds valuable Vitamin E to the dish.

A large serving contains 545 calories, with only 10 percent of the calories from fat.

1 med sweet potato
1/2 cup skim ricotta cheese
3 tblsp chives, minced
2 broccoli spears, florets separated
2 carrots, sliced into 1/4" chunks
1/2 cup minced onions
1 stalk celery
12 oz canned stewed tomatoes
12 oz canned tomato purree
3 oz tomato paste
1/2 turkey breast (or tofu of tempeh)
5 shitake mushrooms
2 tblsp wheat germ
1/3 cup oat bran
6 oz whole wheat lasange noodles
3 tblsp parmesan cheese
1/2 cup parsley
2 sheets nori

If I put a sweet potato in my manicotti, my husband would leave me, and my kid would go with him ("She's lost it, Dad. Let's go.") They'll put up with a lot, but sweet potatoes were never part of the bargain.
32 posted on 12/26/2002 10:26:37 AM PST by reformed_democrat
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To: theFIRMbss
Immediately made me wonder if there is something in fasting that also leads to better health, given a good diet in other respects.

It always intrigued me how many religious figures lived to very old age in times where disease, famine, malnutrition and infirmities made life very short in general.
33 posted on 12/26/2002 10:31:03 AM PST by txzman
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To: Sabertooth

34 posted on 12/26/2002 10:36:51 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
O.K.

How come all of the those starving babies on National Geographic don't live to 158?

35 posted on 12/26/2002 10:46:21 AM PST by SAMS
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To: johnny7
Me too, besides, I won't be party to any diet that doesn't include the occasional porterhouse.
36 posted on 12/26/2002 10:50:39 AM PST by SoDak
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To: SAMS
AIDS and other disease may have something to do with it.
37 posted on 12/26/2002 11:15:39 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: Sabertooth
i'm a vegan, and don't know if i'll live any longer, but it sure will seem longer :o)

i'm not a vegetarian because i love animals, i'm a vegitarian because i hate plants.

after i get back down to 200, it'll be bbq season again, i'll be back to smokin an occasional pig & chicken (though they're hard to keep lit).

all things in moderation, and yes, beer is good for you.

thanks for the ping, Saber.


38 posted on 12/26/2002 11:45:35 AM PST by glock rocks
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To: theFIRMbss
There is this professor at UCLA who has been doing this to himself for years. He wants to live to be 150.

The amusing part is that he was a member of the "ecosphere" project. It turns out that the designers of that sealed environment neglected a teensy fact: plants give off small amounts of nitrous oxide (N20) which accumulate over time. They did not provide a scrubber for nitrous. Chronic exposure to nitrous oxide causes serious and incurable nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy [PN]). PN has numerous causes, including nitrous exposure, chemotherapy, injury, diabetes, and others.

As a sufferer of diabetic peripheral neuropathy I can assure you that it is one of the most painful diseases in the world. I could give details but I'll spare you.

The droll part is this guy wants to live to 150, living in constant pain.

Pass the mashed potatoes and gravy, please.

--Boris

39 posted on 12/26/2002 11:49:34 AM PST by boris
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To: SAMS
> How come all of the those starving babies on National Geographic don't live to 158?

"The reason the semi-starved populations in parts of Africa or the Orient don't live longer is that they are not only calorie restricted, they are malnourished. The "adequate nutrition" side of CR is essential." [paragraph 8]

40 posted on 12/26/2002 2:23:09 PM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: T. P. Pole
You get to live to be 150, but you have to eat three heads of cabbage each day...

I tried...but I could only get two down at a sitting.

Somehow downing a third gives me constipation.

Privately....I think the Cabbage Patch Kids are owned by Metemucil"

41 posted on 12/26/2002 2:35:59 PM PST by Focault's Pendulum
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To: IYAS9YAS
>"For example, 50 percent of female control mice of a particular genetic strain develop breast cancer, but only 5 percent of the same strain if on a CR diet." [paragraph 3]
>>Can I get a grant to determine why there are only 8 buns in a bag but 10 hot dogs in a package?

Of all the stupid
crap that gets funded these days,
why criticize this,

which actually
reports a repeatable
method for almost

eliminating
many cancers? It's a dream
come true. (But it's not

magic pills. It can't
be packaged and sold. It takes,
simply, self-control.)

This study might be
"evolution in action."
One group of people

will ignore it. They
will be -- statistically -- more
inclined to feel tired,

get sick, die young, not
compete with the folks who take
the study to heart.

Over time, the genes
that contribute to smartness
preferentially

will get passed on more
and simple numbers will make
our whole world smarter.

That is, I suppose,
if evolution does work
as it's supposed to...

42 posted on 12/26/2002 2:44:32 PM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: Sabertooth
My CR is pretty good and I workout everyday. Thanks for the advice anyway. ;-)
43 posted on 12/26/2002 2:46:38 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: boris
>The amusing part is that he was a member of the "ecosphere" project. It turns out that the designers of that sealed environment neglected a teensy fact...

An academic
who performs experiments
on himself
rather

rather than pale-skinned
grad students or unaware
population groups?

This guy certainly
is out of touch with modern
academia...

44 posted on 12/26/2002 2:49:32 PM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: dirtboy
And spend a third of your life on the toilet,

...and the other 2/3rds wishing you were on the toilet...

45 posted on 12/26/2002 3:02:46 PM PST by T. P. Pole
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To: gnarledmaw
Admit it, you live in Wisconsin but you're a transplant, right?

You caught me. Left the land of fruits and nuts some six years ago, and still can't understand the obsession with cabbage here.

Brats, however, I understand fully...

46 posted on 12/26/2002 3:05:02 PM PST by T. P. Pole
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To: Focault's Pendulum
Somehow downing a third gives me constipation.

That's the point. The first two give you the runs.

At least, they do if you are eating them correctly...

47 posted on 12/26/2002 3:06:54 PM PST by T. P. Pole
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To: theFIRMbss
All you have to do is go to third world countries. A small percentage of people are healthy at 90. The bad news is most of the people taking low calories have what we doctors call "piss poor protoplasm". They are weak, have lousy immune systems, and die of minor infections.

Since these long lived rats don't come in contact with normal mice who have the mice versions of diarrhea, skin infections, or colds, of course they live longer.

So if you want to starve yourself to live longer, don't go outside or let anyone visit you who might have a cold...

48 posted on 12/26/2002 3:57:10 PM PST by LadyDoc
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To: reformed_democrat
I took a look at that recipe - too much preparation time, and too many ingredients. If that is representative of what the evening meal recipes are like, then that diet is a sure failure at my house. Not to mention sweet potatoes in manicotti! Good heavens.
49 posted on 12/26/2002 4:01:46 PM PST by .38sw
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To: .38sw
>I took a look at that recipe - too much preparation time, and too many ingredients.

According to Sears,
all that you need to do is
cut 40%

off a "typical"
healthy 2,500
calorie diet.

Eat any balanced
load of 1,700
calories per day.

If you think in terms
of lean meat and fresh veggies,
that's a lotta food.

For people who think
(as I once did) in terms of
burgers, donuts and

Mountain Dew, it is
nothing. I'm trying to get
better. But it's hard...

50 posted on 12/27/2002 9:37:24 AM PST by theFIRMbss
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