Cutting calories may not help you live longer
Restricting your diets may not help you live longer, suggest a new study on monkeys.
The 23-year study by the National Institute on Aging found that calorie-restricted rhesus monkeys – which have a similar genetic code, median lifespan and physiology to humans – didn’t live any longer than monkeys who ate a heavier diet, according to CBS News.
“One thing that’s becoming clear is that calorie restriction is not a Holy Grail for extending the life span of everything that walks on earth,” lead author Rafael de Cabo, an experimental gerontologist at the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA) in Baltimore, Md., said to the Wall Street Journal.
In the study, 121 monkeys split into a group between the ages of 1 to 14 and another group between the ages of 16 to 23 were either fed a normal diet or a diet that was 30 percent fewer calories than their normal diet.
By 2006, the calorie-restricted monkeys had seemingly younger immune systems and were less likely to get heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases of aging. But, at the end of the study, the oldest animals had the same amount of tumours, heart disease and overall decline in health as the group that was allowed to eat more.
The monkeys who had caloric restriction starting in the earlier period of life didn’t live longer, with scientists calculating that the probability that they would outlive their peers who had more to eat at .1 percent. The young restricted diet group were also more likely to die of causes not related to aging than the other group. They did have less incidence of cancer, however.
As for the group that started eating fewer calories later in life, they did show lower levels of triglycerides, which have been linked to heart disease risk. But, neither calorie-restricted group lived longer.
The study was published in Nature.
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