Interested in aging gracefully and as slowly as possible? A study of core body temperature in individuals following either a calorie-restricted or a typical Western diet showed ongoing calorie restriction in healthy adults to be associated with lower core body temperature, perhaps slowing the aging process.
Core body temperature is the level at which our organs function to their best ability. Normal core temperature, at rest, ranges from 97.7 to 99.5 °Fahrenheit and is regulated by the hypothalamus in the brain, which responds to temperature receptors throughout the body. When the receptors sense a core temperature approaching low or high levels, the hypothalamus induces physiological changes such as shivering or sweating to raise or lower the core temperature. Prior studies have linked lowered resting core body temperature to decreased signs of aging.
This study involved 24-hour body core temperature measurements (conducted every minute) of 24 men and women consuming a calorie-restricted diet for an average of six years plus age-and-sex-matched volunteers who had been consuming a typical Western diet. Twenty four of these volunteers were sedentary and 24 exercised.
Though the calorie-restricted group and the exercise group were in better shape than the sedentary group and had lower core temperatures, this was thought to be a result of adaptation to lower calories intake rather than leanness. The body is more efficient at conserving energy when body temperature is lower and has reduced levels of hormones associating with aging. Endurance exercise did not appear to have the same effect.
While this isn’t a green-light to forgo your next gym visit, you may want to think twice about that side of fries. Eating more than your daily calorie needs, even if you do work out, may speed up the process of aging.