I’m attending the Milken Conference this week. Much of it is very interesting, some of it not so much. Eating there is always a bit of a challenge. Steak and chicken tend to be the usual offerings. The snack bars they put out have milk in (no pun intended) them. But I come prepared. I bring my own food and ask for a simple salad at lunch. I’ve learned to always be prepared. But that isn’t what I’d planned on writing about tonight.
One of the panels I attended today was called “Living Longer and Better Through Science, Nutrition and Lifestyle Choices’ The speakers were:
- Scott Berns, Co-Founder, Progeria Research Foundation Inc.; Senior Vice President of Chapter Programs, March of Dimes
- Pinchas Cohen, Pediatric Endocrinology Specialist, UCLA Children’s Health Center
- Luigi Fontana, Research Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the Longevity Research Program, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Dr. Fontana’s portion of the panel was most interesting to me. He spoke about calorie restriction and longevity. He is currently leading a study which is testing the effects of calorie restriction to find the optimal nutrition for human lifespan. The diet his patients follow consists primarily of a plant-based, low-fat dairy, whole grains, vegetables and other energy-intensive foods. According to Dr. Fontana, the calorie-restricted diet improves all biomarkers for cardiovascular disease compared to a typical American diet. Fontana stressed that calorie-restricted diets must be carefully administered to assure that they are nutritious and meet daily requirements for vitamins and minerals. By this he means that all the refined and processed foods like soft drinks, and sugar, candies, white bread and foods that are packed with partially hydrogenated fat should be avoided.
This to me is the key for anyone. It is important to eat well. Eat the best food you can afford to eat. Eat foods that are nutritionally beneficial. Avoid junk food. And of course, we advocate eating vegan.