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Is muscle acquisition "bad" for caloric restriction, since gaining muscle increases the amount of calories one requires?

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Let's say I'm basically just skin and bones, with almost no muscle at this point.

And, let's say I need 2,000 calories a day, to "power" the 'skin and bones' I have.

If I understand correctly, I can gain the benefits of caloric restriction for longevity by restricting my daily intake by 50%, to 1,000 calories.

But, let's say I start working out.

Then, I would acquire muscle.

And, my caloric daily requirement might grow to 2,500, or, maybe even 3,000 calories a day.

This would be bad, right? Since to gain the same benefits of caloric restriction for longevity as before, by consuming 1,000 calories a day, I would have to restrict myself to one-third of what I need, instead of just one-half of what I need? I assume that would be significantly harder.

Or, would caloric restriction at 1,500 calories per day with a 3,000 calorie daily need provide the same longevity benefits as restricting caloric intake to 1,000 calories per day for the same person with a 2,000 calorie a day need?

Thank you in advance! This is my first post on this forum. Hopefully, it'll be the first of many.

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It's an unknown - it depends on whether or not the "pro-longevity factors" secreted by the cell/blood are stimulated at a higher caloric intake if you have more muscle/higher basal metabolic rate caused by such muscle.

There's a dif between IDEAL and median case - muscles are an amazing buffer against many insults (whether it be muscle wasting or glycemic spikes) and this is relevant for most people b/c most people are more "median case" than "ideal case"

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Hi Afraid,

Welcome to the CR forums! And thanks for your reply Alex. Nice to see you answering a question too. ­čÖé

Afraid, the topic you bring up is one that is very near and dear to my heart. It is what I've called the 'net' vs. 'absolute' calorie debate. Rather than recapitulate an answer here, I'll point you to the post where this is discussed in the most depth. Short summary - I believe it is net calories (intake - expenditure) rather than absolute calories (intake alone) that kicks the body into the active metabolic state associated with the health and longevity benefits of CR. 

This is also somewhat related to Khurram's "built-in fitbit" hypothesis discussed recently here.

--Dean

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I have been curious about this, too. Thank you for the threads, Dean! Would it be fair to summarize the point you were making therein,  with regard to 'net vs 'absolute' calories, as being that the CR response is triggered when there is a calorie shortfall relative to an organism's caloric needs, and that caloric needs increase with physical activity? And so even if you consume a greater number of calories when exercising (and gaining muscle) than you would at rest, the needs of the body have increased alongside the increase in physical activity, and if you increase calorie intake (though not in excess of the requirement brought on by the activity) the CR response would persist?

I am curious to know more about the lower body temperature element of CR, that was also mentioned in the thread that Dean posted... If the CR response is triggered by a calorie shortfall, why is being exposed to lower temperatures so important? Is it simply because organisms are more active in response to the cold and expend more calories as a result. I'm sure the information is all here somewhere, I just haven't come across the explanation┬áyet ┬á- there's a lot of content to review! ­čÖé

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50 minutes ago, Starlight said:

Would´╗┐ it be fair to summarize the point you were making therein,┬á┬áwith regard to 'net vs 'absolute' calories, as being that the CR response is triggered when there is a calorie shortfall relative to an organism's caloric needs, and that┬ácaloric needs increase with physical activity?

Yes, that is a fair summary of my hypothesis.

50 minutes ago, Starlight said:

And so even if you consume a greater number of calories when exercising (and gain´╗┐ing muscle) than you would at rest, the needs of the body have increased alongside the increase in┬áphysical activity, and if you increase calorie intake (though not in excess of the requirement brought on by the┬áactivity) the CR response would persist?

I'm somewhat skeptical of the "and gaining muscle" portion of the above statement. Gaining muscle (like gaining fat) requires calories in excess of that required to remain weight-stable at a given activity level, which may be enough to undermine the CR effect. Or put another way, eating enough to stay buff may be enough to kick your body out of the "CR mode" even if you are weight stable.

I'm doubtful, but I'm also not sure, since there really isn't a good way to turn rodents into bodybuilders (although some have tried) to test the hypothesis that it is possible to sustain significant extra muscle and still enjoy the health and longevity benefits of CR.

I personally consider it a safter bet to burn off calories via cold exposure and exercise that doesn't result in significant increase in muscle mass, remaining thin (BMI ~19). Specifically, my exercise routine consists mostly of walking, running and resistance training with relatively low weight and high reps.

50 minutes ago, Starlight said:

I am curious to know more about the lower body temperature element of CR, that was also mentioned in the thread that Dean posted´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐... If the CR response is triggered by a calorie shortfall, why is being exposed to lower temperatures so important´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐?

Note that I am specifically not referring to lower body temperature of CR, but exposure to cold per se, and especially cold exposure (CE) in combination with (net) CR. For the full answer, there is conveniently an entire thread devoted to the topic of why CE is good for you and the evidence supporting it. Unfortunately it is over 500 pages long.

As a quick intro, this post is a good place to get a summary of the many benefits of CE. These two posts discuss the potential evolutionary explanation and biochemical mechanism for synergy between CR and CE if case you are really interested in a deep dive.

Happy reading!

--Dean

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Awesome, thank you!

1 hour ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

I'm somewhat skeptical of the "and gaining muscle" portion of the above statement. Gaining muscle (like gaining fat) requires calories in excess of that required to remain weight-stable at a given activity level, which may be enough to undermine the CR effect. Or put another way, eating enough to stay buff may be enough to kick your body out of the "CR mode" even if you are weight stable.

Ah, perhaps what I should have said is "maintaining an amount of muscle mass that is commensurate with an active lifestyle AND the lower BMI one achieves through CR". Since as you say any bulking up would necessarily entail additional calories

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