Comment »Posted on Tuesday 14 July 2009 at 7:13 pm by Jacob Aron
In Biology, Health & Medicine

Over the next few weeks I will be doing some work at the Guardian, mostly on their science blog. Whilst I hope to still have some original Just A Theory content, I’ll also be linking to my posts over there. Here is the first, on yet another study into calorie restriction as a means of holding back the years:

The idea that severely reducing your calorie intake will help you live longer may not be as straightforward as reports last week suggested. Eating a radically restricted diet may weaken the immune system and actually shorten life.

While eating less has been shown to slow the ageing process in a variety of animals, these tests are normally conducted in artificial conditions with little or no exposure to potentially life-shortening diseases. Hence the apparent contradiction.

Research into slowing the ageing process through dieting began as early as 1934 when researchers at Cornell University discovered that rats given a restricted diet could live nearly twice as long as normal. Calorie restriction as a route to longer life has now been confirmed in fruit flies, roundworms, and most recently monkeys, but all of these studies kept the animals in unnaturally clean surroundings.

Read the rest at the Guardian.

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