A new study reports that calorie restriction does not extend lifespan but it does offer some health benefits. Previous studies have claimed that calorie restriction does indeed, lead to longer life. But, researchers involved with this recent study did not find those results to be statistically significant.
This particular study, conducted by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), examined the effects of calorie restriction diets on rhesus monkeys for a time period of twenty- three years. Researchers restricted the caloric intake of one group by 30%, but maintained standard nutrients found in a higher calorie diet. The second group consumed a standard diet.
The results from this study suggested that the calorie-restricted monkeys did not live longer, but did have fewer incidences of diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular issues. They also found that this group had a significant reduction in cancer, too.
These findings are different from a similar study performed in 2009 by the National Institute of Health. Those researchers concluded that calorie restriction diets in rhesus monkeys over a twenty-year time period did, in fact, extend longevity. Both studies reported the same health benefits and reduced risk of disease.
Another interesting discovery from the more recent study shows that the beneficial effects of calorie restriction were realized when implemented in monkeys at an advanced age (16 to 23 years old.) Young monkeys, aged less than 14 years old, did not have the same benefits from the lower calorie diets.
Says the NIA Director of the recent study, “These results suggest the complexity of how calorie restriction may work in the body. Calorie restriction’s effects likely depend on a variety of factors, including environment, nutritional components and genetics.” The two studies were designed differently in terms of the age of the monkeys and the diets, but overall, this study provides compelling evidence that consuming fewer calories is beneficial for our health and our bodies. Click here to read more.
The above image shows that the monkey on the right was fed a calorie restricted diet and looks younger and healthier than the monkey on the left, who consumed a normal diet.