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Low Calorie Diet May Lengthen Your Life

Eating less can help you lose or maintain your weight, but it looks like it can also add years to your life. Well, at least that's the case for monkeys. A 20-year long study on Rhesus monkeys found that those who cut their calorie intake by 30 percent slowed down signs and diseases of aging, and lived longer than monkeys who ate more. The dieting monkeys had less cancerous tumors, heart disease, and less brain shrinkage. They also looked younger than the non-dieting monkeys.

Scientists have known that eating less over time has lengthened the life of more primitive creatures such as worms, flies, and mice. Now this news of larger mammals benefiting from a low calorie diet is inspiring the question — What about humans? Could calorie restriction help us prevent disease and lengthen our lives? Scientists aren't sure yet but the evidence seems convincing. If it turned out to be true, do you think you could live on 30 percent less calories a day for the rest of your life?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
cordina cordina 8 years
@facin8me - I completely agree that you can't get all your analysis from any one source. I'm just very alarmed by some of the reporting on this site, as many of its readers seem genuinely interested in living a health lifestyle, and I wanted to share another viewpoint.
facin8me facin8me 8 years
The junkfoodscience blog does not represent an accurate discussion of the study's results. It doesn't seem that the author of that blog even read the Science article herself. There were so many different metrics by which the CR monkeys and the controls monkeys were measured, not just death. Her analysis only focuses on the fact that the differences between deaths so far in the two groups were not statistically significant. There were other quality of life differences between the groups that were statistically significant. Also, the study is ongoing- the animals are still alive!! We will have to wait years before we know if calorie restriction has any impact on lifespan in this study. I believe fitsugar's analysis of this study to be lacking, but for all of those that use some junk science blog to refute her- you're just as guilty.
darc5204 darc5204 8 years
I like this website and the info it provides, but what cordina said should be taken to heart. The articles on scientific studies are rarely accurate in their conclusions. Blogs and mass media are a starting point, but do your own research and look at the studies you quote, Fit.
BeautifulHealth BeautifulHealth 8 years
Um, nope. I eat about 2,500 a day to maintain and I love it. I'd rather enjoy life and good food, than live a longer, restricting life.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
I saw a bunch of articles about CR a couple of years ago when that one guy began to do it as part of his personal study. I don't believe it will work like they say it will. We're extending life at what cost? As one of the critics said: "what's the point of living forever if you're always going to be hungry/uncomfortable?" I really don't think this is about just the number of calories that you're consuming, but WHERE those calories are coming from. Of course having a more "natural" diet that consists mainly of fruits, veggies and some nuts will probably be healthier for you, thus extending life. Also, they won't REALLY know that CR extends life until either a) people on CR generally outlive everyone else; or b) they die. Doesn't seem like you can win either way.
cherryblossom cherryblossom 8 years
calorie restriction is counter productive at your point Teagan, and i know what youre going through, I was there and Im still fighting the good fight along with you, but Ive managed *knock on wood* to raise myself to about 1800 cals a day so i wish you all the best. But yes at some point calorie restriction becomes bad and your body stores all the fat you take in after you only eat so many calories etc. but ive heard about this from the people in okinawa but its not that severe its like eat till your only eighty percent full, or about 1500 calories a day, but the japanese are kind of short compared to some tall westerners so i would almost assume you could restrict to 1700 1800 if y our someone tall wouldnt anyone else?
Chickonspeed Chickonspeed 8 years
As Cordina already wrote, this so called "news" is biased !! See the junkfoodscience blog for more proper info on the scientific data. So please, next time, read it comprehensively. I'm deeply sorry to notice that fitsugar can be such a misinformed website ! :-((
Chicagomarie Chicagomarie 8 years
30% less than what? 2000? That 1400 and don't a lot of women already eat that as part of a weight loss plan? Clearly it's not that restrictive. As someone who has/does struggle with anorexia, I struggle to get over 1,000 calories a day, on a good day, so maybe that'll add to my life. lol. Not likely since it's due to an ED. At some pint calories restriction must be counterproductive, no?
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I could, but I rather not. :) Recently, I deliberately modified my diet (raised the calories and added some more fatty foods) to gain some desired weight. I was a size 2 (and shrinking). I was getting too scrawny for my liking. I was in excellent health and menstruating, but I was dissatisfied with how small I was. Now, I'm finally back to a size 4. I'm really petite, so at this size, I'm more of a normal-size woman. I'm a bigger hourglass. This may take years off my life, but that's okay. I'm much more comfortable in my own skin. I rather live a shorter life being comfortable, than live longer and being uncomfortable with my body, and being self-conscious. Besides, I'm a size 4. Even with the additional calories and food (plus my exercising), I'm hardly overeating.
miamixo miamixo 8 years
I bet lil pro ana girls everywhere are cheering about this news.
cordina cordina 8 years
This article is another example of the dangers of getting our health advice from press releases. In fact, there was no statistical difference. Read this post to fully understand the results.
DevonJade DevonJade 8 years
That does make sense. I have read about CR a bit but I have never heard it summarized so aptly and concisely as what Spectra just wrote. Well put!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I already eat what would be considered a fairly low-calorie diet. It's not that difficult if you eat a lot of fruits and veggies, which is probably a major contributor to why these people live so long. Another theory is that animals that are living on less food shut down reproductively and shunt the energy that would be used to ovulate into maintaining the adult organism, thus extending their lifespans so the populations wouldn't die out as fast. It makes total sense, if you ask me.
cg130 cg130 8 years
Yeah, I think if there was really solid evidence for it, I definitely could. I eat fairly low-cal anyways.
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