Calorie restriction is a method of increasing longevity by reducing calorie intake by about 20%. It’s been studied in various animal species since the 1930s and shown consistently to work, even if not always in the same way or to the same degree.
Recent studies in mice showed that calorie restriction increases longevity by about 42%, but also pushes health-destroying diseases back until later in their lives. In a study by Stephen Spindler, it was showed that tumours were much reduced in mice that had reduced calorie diets, vs those with normal diets.
Calorie restriction does not mean simply reducing the food you eat. If you do that, you are also reducing the percentage of micro-nutrients that you eat.
In my case, for example, I’ve been eating nothing but Jimmy Joy for the last month as an experiment to see what it did for me. I discovered that it was difficult to eat a full day’s worth, and that if you don’t eat a full day’s worth, you are losing out on nutrients.
Jimmy Joy (old name: Joylent) is a “future food” that is carefully designed to have exactly 2100 calories in a one day sample, and as close as possible to 100% of the recommended daily recommended values of all the micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc). Those are the things that you need to eat every day, but are not mentioned on ingredient labels…
I was overweight by almost 20kg at the beginning of the year, and have been reducing that in various ways since then. I found that moving onto Jimmy Joy made an amazing immediate change, causing my weight loss to increase hugely (20g average per day to 100g average per day).
This is because Jimmy Joy is very filling. If you mix it at the ratios that they recommend, there appears to be a “foaming” effect where the food feels like it’s filling you up even with just the smallest amount. The encourages you to eat less.
While this might have a desired effect on weight, it has some side-effects – I’m tired, weak, sometimes less mentally sharp than I would like, and I have a lowered libido.
This is because the food is designed to give you exactly 100% of what you need. If you eat less, then you are getting less than 100% of what you need.
While eating less calories is a desired thing, consuming less micro-nutrients is not.
This highlights the problem, but what is the solution?
Going back to eating “normal” food is not a solution. My diet was nowhere near optimal before this.
Doctors and other health-professionals recommend that you “plan carefully” when creating your diet, which is a vague way of saying “we don’t have a plan either”. When they say you should have plenty of variety in your diet, they are basically saying “if you eat lots of stuff, you will give yourself the right nutrients by accident”, which is yet another way of saying “we don’t have a plan.”
I can see two solutions to this:
1: that Jimmy Joy (or a similar food supplier) comes out with a very-low-calorie variant that is still 100% nutrient-full, which you can then mix with your normal day-to-day Jimmy Joy to get the right calories you’re looking for.
2: that I write a nutrient calculator program that can design recipes itself based on exact requirements
I have no control over Jimmy Joy’s choices, and I’m sure they’re happy enough with the money they’re making on their standard meals, so they’re unlikely to start accepting amendment requests from random nobodies.
So, I started building my own service to provide recipe plans.
So far, the plan is able to generate mixes of ingredients for single days that are designed to provide you with 100% nutrition, and your own requested number of calories.
I’m working now on making multi-day plans to allow overestimates or underestimates of ingredients to be balanced out over days. This way if you have too much iron today (for example), then tomorrow, your plan will include less iron.
I have a number of far-future plans for this.
One is that I can use this kind of program to generate personalised meal-plans for people that are trying to diet but are unsure that they are doing it right (that would be everyone, right?).
Another is that I can use this to generate one-day meal packets similar to how Jimmy Joy, Soylent, Huel, Jake, etc do, but again, personalised.
Tomorrow, I start eating based on my own plan. If I do this right, then I will soon be back to my usual alert self, but will also still be losing weight, as my own plan will have reduced calories in it.