Fun fact number one: Half of all men who die in this country this year will be killed by heart disease, stroke, or cancer. Fun fact number two: Half of all doctors seem to have different ideas about how to prevent the biggest killers of men. We spoke to the best of them, and we’ve simplified, clarified, and prioritized their advice on minimizing the risks of dying before your time. For more tips, click here. You’ve probably heard of the calorie-restriction diet: You eat at least 30 percent fewer calories than normal humans, about 1,750 instead of 2,500 for an adult male. If you keep yourself on the verge of starvation, CR devotees claim, you can extend your life span past 100 years, perhaps 120. (The theory is that the body switches into an emergency defensive state and slows your metabolism, producing fewer cell-damaging free radicals.) A few years ago, I tried the CR diet for a book I was writing about health.


I spent hours a week filling in spreadsheets with apple calories, weighing food, and watching friends eat. I was perpetually hangry, though CR fans say that you get used to it. In fact, you start to love it. You feel energized. “I literally get high from it,” said one CR expert I visited. So does CR work? Well, I’m still alive, so I guess that’s one data point. And there actually is some science to support it. In a Cornell study back in 1934, researchers doubled the life spans of mice with extremely low-calorie diets.


Similar studies have postponed death in worms and spiders. But in primates, the evidence is far from conclusive. Monkey studies have been contradictory. There have been promising studies in humans that show a reduction in diabetes and clogged arteries among practitioners. But so far, we lack rigorous long-term studies about extended life span. The general idea is right. It’s probably good to eat less than we do now. American portions are embarrassingly big. But as for radical measures? I prefer to risk dying before a hundred and splurge on the sporadic curly cheese fry. ( By A.J. Jacobs from )