Less calorie consumption improves body's adaptive metabolism

Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo (USP) have found that restricting calories in the diet have multiple health benefits.

Researcher Xavier Nissan is seen seen in his laboratory at the Institute for Stem cell Therapy and Exploration of Monogenic Diseases (I-Stem) in Evry, near Paris November 27, 2009. The team has succeeded in grafting epidermis from human embryonic stem cells onto mice in order to produce temporary skin substitutes for patients awaiting skin grafts. Reuters

Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo (USP) have found that restricting calories in the diet have multiple health benefits. The research conducted on mice has found various adaptive metabolism including an increase in the blood flow and various other adaptation to the climate change.

According to a research paper published in the journal Cell Reports, two sets of mice were set for the study. One set of mice was allowed to eat as much as they can while the other set was given controlled calories of food, which accounts to 60 percent nutrients consumed by the first group.

After conducting experiments for six months, it was found that the body mass and weight of mice, which were on controlled diet, was 40 percent lower than the first group. It was found that the calorie restricted (CR) mice experienced a decrease in fat and had also developed more fur in its body. The adaptive response of the body to the fat loss had resulted in uniform, thicker and longer fur in the CR model organism.

According to reports, Alicia Kowaltowski, of USP, who guided the research said, "Fur has properties that insulate animals to retain warmth. We believe this is an adaptation present in mammals. Those that eat less have less fat and they need more fur or body hair as thermal insulation."

The researchers found that there were three times more blood vessels in the skins of the CR group mice when compared to the obesed group. This increased the blood flow to the skin cells and increased the skin vascularisation.

The overweight mice experienced premature skin aging, while the increased vasoconstriction in the slimmer mice helped them to stay warm while keeping the skin young.

Another experiment was conducted by shaving the fur of the mice, which resulted in revealing the difference in adaptation between the two sets.

"CR mice lost muscle mass and became lethargic. This metabolism change directly resulted from the loss of body heat to the environment. The mice were unable to live well without fur," said Kowaltowski.

A third experiment was conducted by coloring the experimental mice groups with blue colors. It revealed that the CR mice had thicker fur than the overweight mice. It was found that the CR mice had lesser hair loss and their hair remained thick for a longer period. This could avoid the energy used for growing new hair.

According to another report published by the Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 25 percent of the group of mice which were allowed limitless calories experienced liver damage, whereas, those which were kept under control had 1 percent chance for liver damage.

The research presented different effects generated by different body organs in response to the dieting experiment. It showed that dieting improves the functioning of insulin-producing cells, which balances rising sugar levels.

Strict diet control also improves the functioning of the brain and prevents neuronal death diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy and stroke.