Dr. Roy Walford developed a diet he called CRON, which is “CR”, calorie restriction (roughly 60% of calories needed to maintain the “set point” weight, the weight one keeps going back to, over and over again), and “ON”, optimal nutrition, which he too narrowly conceived of as consuming foods that meet RDAs for the essential nutrients, non-essential nutrients being of no importance to good health and longevity, even though the body makes receptors to absorb these nutrients. Following the government’s lead, the optimal values of non-essential nutrients can be set to zero. Further, Dr. Walford considered supplements to be essentially useless because none of the popular ones extended mouse lifespan. Again, too narrowly conceived a concept.
Based on mouse experiments, with longevity as a (rather poor in my view – since all of us know people who have lived a very long time in poor health, a huge database of counterexamples) measure of health, Walford concluded that for humans and mice, CR > ON or CR >> ON, calorie restriction is more important or much more important for human health than optimal nutrition (than meeting RDAs).
Actuarial data are more relevant to us than experiments on lab mice, and these data have always contradicted this. The longest lived humans have always been those who are average weight and those who are above average weight. Given our rather poor judgment in dietary and indeed all matters, more calories helps because:
Total nutrition = total calories * average nutritional quality of the foods containing those calories
The actuarial data suggest that for our good health, as measured by longevity:
ON > CR (ON is somewhat more important than CR)
Dr. Walford, surely you jested in suggesting than CR > ON and the possibility that CR >> ON!
PS: Contrary to Walford’s claim, the actuarial data are not explained solely by the premature deaths of people with TB (up to 1900, roughly 1 in 7 people died of TB complications). That explains in part why skinny people have always been under-represented among the long-lived. It is most definitely not the whole story.
Surely, a second jest, Dr. Walford!