diet, longevity, caloric restriction
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Eating less could lead to a longer life.

Ever since Clive McCay published his landmark 1935 study that showed mice with severely restricted diets lived 33% longer, many have wondered whether caloric restriction could extend the human life span, too.

It makes for an interesting philosophical question: Would you trade the joy of eating for a longer life?

There are a few reasons why some say this type of caloric restriction could work to extend human life spans. First, larger animals tend to live longer than smaller ones because they have slower metabolic rates. When we consume fewer calories, we have less to metabolize.

Second, it’s speculated that caloric restriction reduces free radical damage in the body, slowing the aging process.


A new study out of UT Southwestern on mice has found that caloric restriction increases longevity, which isn’t exactly front-page news. However, the intriguing part is that this study found that the time of day the mice were fed had a big effect on their life spans.

Researchers found that restricting the calories mice ate by 30 to 40% increased their longevity by 10%. But mice that were fed the restrictive diet only while active at night lived 35% longer than those that ate whatever they wanted whenever they chose.

If this type of diet were adapted for a human’s biological rhythms, we’d eat low-calorie diets during the daytime. So if you’re the type that prefers breakfast over dinner, a long life could be in the cards. But if you love a four-course dinner, it may be hard to make the adjustment.

Bottom line: If the diet is found to work the same way in humans as it does for mice, when we eat will become almost as important as what we eat. It could also lead to changing the times we wake up and go to sleep. Who wants to stop eating at 3 p.m. and then go to bed hungry at 11 p.m.?

“It’s pretty clear that the timing of eating is important to get the most bang for your buck with calorie restriction,” Dr. Joseph Takahashi, Ph.D, one of the lead researchers on the study, said in a news release.

“We have discovered a new facet to caloric restriction that dramatically extends life span in our lab animals,” said Dr. Takahashi, the Loyd B. Sands Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience. “If these findings hold true in people, we might want to rethink whether we really want that midnight snack.”

The study also makes the interesting case that low body weight isn’t necessarily tied to longevity.

“This shows that at low body weight, this popular yardstick of health (body weight) is not a predictor of life span,” said Dr. Carla Green, Distinguished Scholar in Neuroscience at UT Southwestern.

Obviously, this study was performed on mice and there’s a long way to go before we can be sure that this type of drastic dieting will expand human life or doesn’t come with any dangerous side effects. But it is compelling to imagine that by simply adjusting what and when we eat we could live up to 35% longer.

That would push the life span of the average American male from 75 to 103 and female from 81 to 109.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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