A researcher from the National Institute on Aging has demonstrated that a low-calorie diet is good for brain health, specifically keeping neurons healthy against disease. An article in Science News focuses on the reduction of glucose-triggered oxidation, but also mentions that simply reducing cellular energy has benefits:
This mild stress makes brain cells more active and triggers production of protective proteins, such as BDNF and heat-shock protein. Mattson suggests that the lightly stressed neurons tend to cope better with more-severe stresssuch as that imposed by neurological diseasethan cells of animals on a steady diet do.
This initially seems contrary to my habit of eating whatever my body asks for, but applies nicely to the masochism of cycling. I clearly need to learn to reduce my caloric intake in the off-season, though.