How to eat healthy: Is the CRON diet for you?

Are you a CRONie? What the heck is a CRONie? This is a term given to individuals who eat a CALORIC RESTRICTED with OPTIMAL NUTRITION diet. What exactly is the CRON diet and why would you want to try it?

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What is the CRON diet? (1)

The CRON diet is really a misnomer. CRON is a lifestyle, NOT a fad diet. People who adhere to the CRON lifestyle restrict calories an average, 30 to 50% daily for years or even decades, while eating a diet high in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. The goal is to reduce calories without becoming nutrient deficient. In other words, you can’t reduce calories, then eat anything you want, up to that calorie goal. So no meals at McDonald’s! CRON is a nutrient dense way of eating. Adherents to this lifestyle eat whole foods, mainly plants, with small amounts of fat, protein and whole grains. Basically, CRONies restrict calories, eat a very healthy, nutrient dense, whole food diet, and minimize the intake of harmful substances.

Why would you want to eat the CRON diet?

In a nutshell, people live a CRON lifestyle to prolong their lives, it really is that simple. The belief is that caloric restriction will prolong life, and there is scientific evidence to support these claims. Many scientific studies have shown that if you reduce the caloric intake of rodents by 30%, they will live 30% longer (3). As you might imagine, this is much more difficult to prove in humans and scientists are still researching this aspect of the CRON diet.

Here are several scientifically proven benefits

of the CRON diet in humans (3,4):

  • prevents age-related chronic disease:
    • stroke
    • heart disease
    • diabetes
    • cancer
  • lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • healthy heart and arteries
  • reduces inflammation and autoimmune disorders
  • improves digestion, bowel disorders
  • reduces signs of aging, including healthier skin and hair
  • improves immunity

Possible problems with the CRON diet (1)

I think, at least for me, the main issue with CRON is simply sticking with the lifestyle. After all, humans are not known for their ability to eat a low calories diet, especially when we are surrounded and bombarded by junk food on a daily basis. With that said…

Here are some possible problems associated with CRON:

  • feeling cold easily
  • hunger (while in a weight loss phase – this does pass as the body adjusts)
  • social pressure
  • reduced libido (if this happens, you’re missing some nutrients)
  • hating it – if this happens, this lifestyle is not for you

Cold Water Fish In Diet - cocogala

Tips on implementing the CRON diet… (2)

  • Study food labels
  • Learn how to estimate portions sizes
  • you can’t eat too many vegetables, so load up
  • Eat fruit (especially strawberries) instead of other sweets
  • Eliminate sugar
  • Variety is the spice of life. Make your diet colorful
  • Eat only when you’re hungry
  • Sit down, relax and be mindful when you’re eating (don’t eat on the run)
  • Use small plates – you eat less
  • Use intermittent fasting principles – eat first meal later and last meal earlier
  • Don’t jump into the lifestyle full force. Do it gradually by slowly eliminating problem foods and cutting calories

An example of a CRONie.

In the following video, you’ll meet Dave Fisher, an avid CRONie, who has been restricting calories for 20 years. Keep in mind, when you watch this video, Dave is 53 YEARS OLD!

Closing thoughts

I hope you found this interesting. Part of the reason I decided to post this today, was due to the assignment I had this past weekend, which was on energy restriction and aging. I haven’t received my grade yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll share the results of my research with you. Suffice it to say, I was VERY impressed with the health benefits of the CRON diet. With that said, CRON is VERY hard to maintain, which is why I have found alternatives, which mimic CRON, without having to cut calories…. But, I’ll tell you more about that later.

Until next time…Namaste my friends.

Tamara 

Sources:

  1. http://www.optimal.org/voss/cron_overview.html
  2. http://www.optimal.org/voss/easycron.html
  3. Omodei, D., and Fontana, L.,  (2011). Calorie restriction and prevention of age-associated c chronic disease. NIH public access. doi:10.1016/j.febslet.2011.03.015 Retrieved from: https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1016/j.febslet.2011.03.015