A couple years ago I read a lot about calorie restriction and how it can lengthen one’s life. I was sold on it at the time but I continued my 2,500 daily calorie diet (now up to 3,000 calories per day). Calorie restriction studies have been mostly done on mice, a generally good animal model for humans. I say generally because I’ve lost count on how many times I read about a cancer breakthrough drug that worked well on mice but never panned out in humans. While successful studies on mice – and even one on humans – are encouraging, I’m not ready to start starving myself, like some people have done.

Personally, I think calorie restriction followers (“CRonies”) have a mild form of anorexia, where their obsession with control and food forces them to participate in a cult-like movement that has little scientific data to back it.

Recently I got really confused after reading a study just published by government researchers.

…being very thin, even though the thinness was longstanding and unlikely to stem from disease, caused a slight increase in the risk of death, the researchers said.

The new study, considered by many independent scientists to be the most rigorous yet on the effects of weight, controlled for factors like smoking, age, race and alcohol consumption in a sophisticated analysis derived from a well-known method that has been used to predict cancer risk.

Take a look at the article’s graphic:

Being underweight is more likely to kill you than being obese! If this study is valid – and all indications point to yes – then calorie restricters have made an unfortunate choice in shortening their life span on a meager diet not even fit for a fifth grader. I, on the other hand, will continue eating 400 calorie Starbucks espresso brownies without guilt.


  1. fanman

    I may be wrong, but that BMI formula seems to assume that your body is shaped like a cube.

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