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改善健康也許很簡單:每天少吃300卡

    Scientists have long known of a fairly reliable way to extend the lives of rodents and other lab animals: cutting the number of calories they eat by 10 to 40 percent.

    科學家們早就知道一種相當可靠的方式,能夠延長嚙齒類及其他實驗室動物的壽命:把他們攝入的卡路里數量減少10%至40%。

    The strategy, known as calorie restriction, has been shown to extend the lives of various organisms and reduce their chances of developing cancer and other age-related diseases. Whether it can do the same for humans is debatable. But an intriguing new study suggests that long-term calorie restriction in young adults can have an impact on their health.

    這種被稱為卡路里限制的策略已被證實可延長各種生物的壽命,并降低它們患癌癥及其他年齡相關疾病的幾率。它是否能對人類起到同樣的作用尚無定論。但一項饒有趣味的新研究表明,長期限制青壯年人的卡路里攝入可對他們的健康產生影響。

    In the new study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and published this month in the journal Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, researchers looked at a group of 143 healthy men and women between the ages of 21 and 50. They followed instructions to restrict calories for two years. They could eat what they wanted if they reduced the amount of food they ate, with the goal of reducing the number of calories they ate by 25 percent.

    這項新研究由美國國家衛生研究院(National Institutes of Health,簡稱NIH)出資并發表在本月的《柳葉刀糖尿病與內分泌學》(Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology)期刊上,其中研究人員對一群年齡介乎21歲至50歲的143名健康男性和女性進行了觀察。他們按照指示,進行了為期兩年的卡路里攝入限制。他們可以食用自己想要的食物,條件是減少攝入食物總量,目標是使他們攝入的熱量減少25%。

    A lot of people don't reach that goal. On average, dieters were able to cut their total calories by about 12 percent, or roughly 300 calories a day -- the equivalent of a large bagel, a few chocolate chip cookies or a small cup of starbucks mocha frappuccino. But many in this group had improved cardiovascular and metabolic health, even though they were already in the normal range.

    很多人沒達到這一目標。平均而言,節食者得以將總熱量削減了約12%,大致相當于每天300卡路里,這是一個大貝果、幾塊巧克力曲奇或一小杯星巴克摩卡星冰樂的熱量。但這組人中,很多人的心血管和新陳代謝健康指標都得到了改善,盡管他們原本已在正常范圍內。

    They lost weight and body fat. Their cholesterol levels improved, their blood pressure dropped slightly, their blood sugar control improved and their inflammation decreased. Meanwhile, the 75 healthy people in the control group who were not on calorie restriction showed no improvement in these measures.

    他們的體重和體脂均有下降。他們的膽固醇水平有所改善,血壓略有下降,血糖控制情況好轉,炎癥發作也減少。與此同時,未實行卡路里限制的75名對照組健康人士的這些指標沒有改善。

    The calorie-restricted group benefited in part from significant weight loss, an average of 16 pounds over the two-year study period. But their metabolic health improved more than expected, suggesting that caloric restriction may have some unique biological effect on the body's disease pathways, said William Kraus, the study's lead author and a professor of medicine and cardiology at duke university.

    卡路里限制組的受益部分源于他們的體重大幅降低,在研究進行的兩年期間平均減少了16磅。但他們代謝健康狀況的改善程度大于減重本身的預期,這表明熱量限制可能對身體的疾病通道有某種獨特的生物作用,該研究第一作者、杜克大學醫學和心臟病學教授威廉·克勞斯(William Kraus)表示。

    We were not surprised by the change, he said. "But the magnitude of the change is really striking. "In a sick population, no combination of five drugs can produce that much improvement."

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    “有變化我們并不意外,”他說。“但變化的幅度著實驚人。在疾病人群中,任何的五種藥物組合無法產生這么大的改善。”

    Calorie restriction may be a useful way to improve Health and lose weight, but it is unclear whether the changes revealed by the new study will ultimately translate into longer lives and fewer chronic diseases, said Frank Hu, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study.

    熱量限制或許是改善健康和減輕體重的有用途徑,但尚不清楚這項新研究所揭示的變化最終能否轉化為壽命延長和慢性病的減少,未參與該研究的哈佛大學陳曾熙公共衛生學院(Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)營養學系主任胡炳長(Frank Hu)稱。

    He says the modest improvements experienced by participants must be sustained over time to produce long-term benefits. But he questioned whether caloric restriction was practical for most people, given that "we live in a fat-inducing environment where there are a lot of energy-dense but nutrient-poor foods that are cheap, easy to get and sell like hot cakes."

    他表示,參與者所經歷的適度改善必須長時間保持,方能產生長期的益處。但鑒于“我們生活在一個致胖環境中,有大量能量密集但缺乏營養的食物,它們廉價、容易獲得還很熱銷”,熱量限制對于大多數人是否實際,他表示質疑。

    But he added that some people may find caloric restriction feasible if they combine it with popular dietary strategies like the Mediterranean diet, intermittent fasting or cutting back on carbohydrates.

    不過他也表示,一些人可能會發現熱量限制是可行的,如果他們把它和地中海飲食、間歇性禁食或減少碳水化合物攝入這類熱門飲食策略結合起來的話。

    The new study confirms how difficult it is to limit calories. Study participants underwent intensive training programs to learn how to cook low-calorie meals, participated in group discussions and regularly consulted nutrition experts. But they still don't meet half of their 25% calorie reduction target. As anyone who has ever dieted knows, maintaining weight loss over the long term is the hardest part.

    這項新研究證實限制卡路里何其困難。研究參與者接受了密集的培訓項目,從中學習如何烹制低卡路里餐食,參加了小組討論并定期向營養專家咨詢。但他們仍然連25%的熱量削減目標的一半都達不到。而任何有過節食經驗的人都知道,長期保持減重效果是最難的。

    But the new research is groundbreaking in several ways. The study, funded entirely by the NIH and costing $55 million, was called "Calerie" -- Comprehensive Assessment of long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy. This is the first major clinical trial to examine the effects of calorie restriction in young adults of normal weight or slightly overweight but not obese. The trial was designed to see if caloric restriction could affect healthy aging and disease status.

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    但新研究在多個方面都有開創性。研究完全由NIH資助,耗資5500萬美元,全名為“Calerie”——降低能量攝入長期效應綜合評估(Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy)。這是以體重正常或輕微超重但不肥胖的青壯年為對象,檢驗卡路里攝入限制影響的首例主要臨床試驗。試驗旨在查看熱量限制能否影響健康老齡化進程和疾病狀況。

    While they set strict calorie targets, they also gave the subjects some flexibility to eat what they wanted. They found that the subjects' protein intake did not change, but they ate significantly less fat and carbohydrates. The subjects also consumed more micronutrients such as vitamins A, K and magnesium, indicating A significant increase in fruit and vegetable intake, said Susan b. Roberts, one of the study's authors and A senior scientist at Tufts University's USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

    雖然他們設定的卡路里目標非常嚴格,但也給了受試者一些靈活性,讓他們可以吃自己想吃的食物。他們發現,研究對象的蛋白質攝入量并沒有改變,但他們攝入的脂肪和碳水化合物明顯減少。研究報告作者之一、塔夫茨大學USDA人類衰老營養研究中心(Tufts University U.S.D.A. Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging)資深科學家蘇珊·B·羅伯茨(Susan B. Roberts)說,受試者還攝入了維生素A、K和鎂等更多微量元素,表明水果和蔬菜的攝入量有了大幅增加。

    They eat healthier, she said. "Things like nuts, whole grains, green vegetables and beans."

    “他們吃得更健康,”她說。“比如堅果、全谷物、綠色蔬菜和豆類之類東西。”

    Dieting can be an unpleasant experience for many people. But the researchers found that, to the surprise of many subjects, caloric restriction was not intolerable. Although more people dropped out of the diet group than the control group, overall, the study had a high retention rate. The researchers looked at measures of quality of life and found that the calorie-restricted group slept better, had more energy and were in better mood. There was also no significant increase in hunger or food cravings compared to the control group, Roberts said.

    對許多人來說,節食可能是一種不愉快的經歷。但研究人員發現,對許多受試者來說,令他們驚訝的是,熱量限制不是無法忍受的。雖然退出節食組的人比對照組多,但總的來說,這項研究的受試者保留率很高。研究人員研究了生活質量的衡量標準,發現限制熱量攝入的那組人睡眠更好、精力更充沛、情緒也更好。羅伯茨說,與對照組相比,他們的饑餓感和對食物的渴望也沒有明顯增加。

    We didn't measure anything that said they were in bad shape, she said.

    “我們沒有測量到任何表明他們情況不好的東西,”她說。

    One question the study doesn't answer is whether caloric restriction extends human life as it does in other animals. To test this, researchers can only keep people on such diets and keep following them for decades.

    這項研究無法回答的一個問題是,熱量限制是否能像延長其他動物壽命一樣延長人類的壽命。要想測試這一點,研究人員只能讓人們保持這樣的飲食,并且繼續跟蹤他們幾十年。

    But in the end, caloric restriction did have a beneficial effect on a range of risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Both diseases cause the death and disability of millions of americans, especially older people.

    但最終,熱量限制確實對糖尿病和心臟病的一系列風險因素產生了有益影響。這兩種疾病導致數以百萬計美國人的死亡和殘疾,尤其是年齡較長者。

    Duke's krauss said he hopes to study the participants again in 10 years to see if the benefits of caloric restriction can be sustained. This phenomenon, known as the legacy effect, exists in high-intensity exercise training and other health interventions. But for now, he said, the public lesson from the experiment is that people can benefit from cutting 300 calories from their daily diet.

    杜克大學的克勞斯說,他希望在10年內再次對參與者進行研究,看看熱量限制實驗的好處是否能夠持續下去。這種現象被稱為遺留效應,在高強度運動訓練和其他健康干預措施中都存在。但就目前而言,他說,該實驗對公眾的啟示是,從每天的飲食中減少300卡路里的熱量可以令人們獲益。

    It's not hard to reach this caloric restriction, he said. "It's basically the size of an after-dinner snack."

    “達到這個熱量限制并不難,”他說。“基本上就是一頓餐后小吃的量。”

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