Beyond the 120 Year Diet: How to Double Your Vital Years
by: Roy L. Walford
Topics include: fully fed rats, maximum metabolic efficiency, basic aging process, biomarker tests, gamma crystallin, glycemic indices, maximum life span, establishment medicine, major killer diseases, functional age, retarding aging, age pigment, vitamin company, free radical theory, low calorie intake
Dr. Walford explains four categories of evidence: testimonial, argumentative, correlational, and experimental. Testimonial is the weakest form and is highly unreliable. It is usually based on a single case. For example: if a person knows someone who smokes and that person lived to a ripe old age they might be tempted to claim that smoking is healthy. Or if a person lost weight and then had a heart attack they might be tempted to claim that losing weight causes heart attacks. The same type of faulty logic is used by reviewers who claim that the contents of the book are invalid because the author is ill. (...)The national average life expectancy for males is 74 years. Dr. Walford has already exceeded the national average. He might have died or developed his illness earlier without the diet. There is no way of knowing. (...) The most reliable type of scientific evidence are double blind experiments using control groups where all factors for all groups are as identical as possible except for the variable in question, in this case the diet. There must also be enough subjects for statistical significance. The more subjects involved the better. Remember that the goal is to make generalizations on diet that are valid for the entire population. Dietary experiments with humans are difficult for a variety of reasons, not to mention the long life span. Scientific proof or disproof of Dr. Walford's theories will probably be far into the future. The most relevant experiments that are going on now use chimpanzees. The chimp life span is over fifty years. Although there is much time remaining in the experiment, the chimps on the CRON (Caloric Restriction with Optimum Nutrition) diet already seems to be more youthful than the control group. It is an undisputed scientific fact that CRON diets lengthen the life span of laboratory animals. The diet has been shown to be effective in all species tested so far such as bacteria, worms, fish, and mice. But the controversy is whether the diet will lengthen the maximum human life span. Dr. Walford concludes that the maximum human life span can be extended because the maximum life span of lab animals was extended. However the control group of lab animals was allowed to eat as much as they wanted. But humans who have lived the longest are generally light eaters. They might have eaten a diet similar to what Dr. Walford is recommending. In that case the CRON diet will not further extend the maximum life span of humans. However it should extend the average life span if the whole population adopts it. Scientific evidence is not yet available to either support or refute claims of the CRON diet for humans. It seems undeniable that persons have a greater chance of living longer by restricting their calories (the optimum amount is controversial) and eating highly nutritious food (the definition of this is also controversial). Roy Walford's book is an excellent presentation of his theories and a wealth of information on diet and aging. He covers: - medical tests for measuring physiological age versus chronological age - the latest evidence on various supplements as well as hormones such as human growth hormone - information on various diseases of aging and the evidence linking them to dietary causes - exercise and stretching, and - recipes and tips on how to begin the program and maintain it. DR. WALFORD WARNS THE READER NOT TO START THE PROGRAM WITHOUT FIRST SEEING A DOCTOR WHO WILL CAREFULLY MONITOR THE DIETER'S BLOOD LEVELS OF VARIOUS NUTRIANTS AND MEASUREMENTS OF PHYSIOLOGICAL AGE. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT OVER THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF THE PROGRAM! Dr. Walford does cover the very important concept of "Nutritional Density" which might prove to be a tremendous advance in nutritional science. In conclusion, the world owes Dr. Walford its debt of gratitude for his great contribution to human knowledge and his theories stimulating further dietary and aging research. Dr. Walford is a highly dedicated and brilliant scientist who has written a very thorough and well documented book relating caloric restriction with optimum nutrition to aging. This should prove extremely interesting, especially to those not familiar with this dietary approach. I recommend Dr. Roy Walford's book as well for those seeking information on diet, health, and aging.
Yes, Roy Walford did pass at 79 of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). It is unfortunate. Does his death at 79 undo his years of study and research? No...And I have to disagree, Roy Walford looked quite young until his illness set in. In "Beyond the 120 Year Diet" Dr. Walford spells out what a person needs to do to increase his/her vital years. Will a person following the Walford guidelines live to 120 healthy years? Who knows it works on mice, rats, etc. The presumption is it should work on humans. And why not??? The original calorie restriction studies began in the 1930's. Walford uses these studies, and his own (Along with peers) to give the reader a step by step introduction, and then application of Calorie Restriction (called CRON on the WWW). This book is well worth the read. Walford takes a good hard look at all angles of longevity, and all the claims...he asks repeatedly, "Where is the 40 month old mouse?" in regards to supplementation, exercise, "fad diets" (Atkins, The Zone, Ornish, etc.) and so on. He speaks highly of Nathan Pritikin and the work he did with his research.
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