July 20, 2019   12:19am
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Will you live longer with a restricted calorie diet?

If you eat fewer calories, will you live longer?  There are claims that this works …

According to The New York Times article, “Dieting Monkeys Offer Hope for Living Longer,” a study of calorie restricted diets for rhesus monkeys seem to point to increased longevity.  This, of course, leads to speculation that this might do the same for you.

“A long-awaited study of aging in rhesus monkeys suggests, with some reservations, that people could in principle fend off the usual diseases of old age and considerably extend their life span by following a special diet,” the article reads. Studies conducted upon the monkeys (by the University of Wisconsin) showed many benefits for those on the diet, which involves taking in 30 percent fewer calories than usual. Those on the diet have lived longer than those on an unrestricted diet and also significantly reduced their risk of diabetes, cancer and heart and brain disease.

Past tests conducted on mice showed a stunning 40 percent longer lifespan for those that began the diet from birth, and now with these findings, there’s more hope that the results are translatable into primates, bringing us that much closer to increasing human lifespan.

But there are a few hurdles left in the way between these findings and the celebration ceremony… Though its been 20 years since the study on the rhesus monkeys first began, many are criticizing the evidence as “premature.”

“If caloric restriction can delay aging, then there should have been significantly fewer deaths in the dieting group of monkeys than in the normally fed comparison group. But this is not the case. Though a smaller number of dieting monkeys have died, the difference is not statistically significant, the Wisconsin team reports.”

“Dietary restriction seems to set off an ancient strategy written into all animal genomes, that when food is scarce resources should be switched to tissue maintenance from breeding. In recent years biologists have had considerable success in identifying the mechanisms by which cells detect the level of nutrients available to the body. The goal is to find drugs that trick these mechanisms into thinking that famine is at hand. People could then literally have their cake and eat it, too, enjoying the health benefits of caloric restriction without the pain of forgoing rich foods.”

To read the entire article, click here.

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The New York Times, “Dieting Monkeys Offer Hope for Living Longer,” Nicholas Wade, July 10, 2009

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