I just read an interesting article in Slate magazine reviewing a National Institute of Health study on calorie restriction and food quality in research monkeys. It's definitely worth the read if you like that kind of thing (which I do!).
But -- in case you don't, let me just review some of the findings for you:
Monkeys who ate a little bit less (25% less than the control group) were healthier - they experienced fewer incidence of diabetes and heart disease. And, if they did experience these conditions, the calorie restricted monkeys had a much later onset than the control monkeys (increased healthspan).
But interestingly enough, the calorie restricted monkeys in this study (as opposed to another long term calorie restricted monkey study out of Wisconsin), the calorie restricted monkeys didn't live longer (no increased lifespan) than the control monkeys.
This little situation set the researchers back on their heels a bit -- because one would assume (and this was born out by many other studies on many other species of living creatures) that if you were healthier this would translate into longer lifespan. But nope -- not in this case. Why???
Well, it seems when the researchers took a look at what the monkeys were eating, they found that the NIH group was eating a more whole food/natural food diet. The Wisconsin monkeys were eating a more highly processed diet (the Slate article goes a little more in depth about why that was).
So it seems that whole food/natural food will help you live longer. Eating less of it will make you healthier while you're alive. (or at least that could be a preliminary interpretation of the results thus far).
Well, duh! This makes a lot of sense, right?! So let's start thinking about what we really want out of life:
Do you want to live longer?
Do you want to have a longer healthspan?
Do you want it all?
What are you willing to do to get it? Can you make some changes to a few more natural foods (think old fashioned oats in the morning instead of Cheerios)? Can you eat less total volume than you do now?
I bet there are changes there that you could live with in both those categories! What do you think??