Calorie Restriction Leads to Longer, Healthier Life

Results from a 20 year study on monkeys and their diets show that eating fewer calories can help you live longer. Animals with a restricted diet of 30% were shown to outlive those that were given the freedom to eat what when and how much they wanted. The monkeys also had improved chances of avoiding age related diseases, cancer, diabetes and brain atrophy.

In terms of overall animal health, Weindruch notes, the restricted diet leads to longer lifespan and improved quality of life in old age. "There is a major effect of caloric restriction in increasing survival if you look at deaths due to the diseases of aging," he says.

The incidence of cancerous tumors and cardiovascular disease in animals on a restricted diet was less than half that seen in animals permitted to eat freely. Remarkably, while diabetes or impaired glucose regulation is common in monkeys that can eat all they want, it has yet to be observed in any animal on a restricted diet. "So far, we've seen the complete prevention of diabetes," says Weindruch.


From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by coconutnut.

Actually not eating better - it's eating less (calorie restricted diet). Restricting calorie intake has been shown to improve the lifespan of nematodes and mice, and now, in this study, monkeys.

One thing that advocates of calorie restricted diets DON'T tell you is that these monkeys, although healthy and have longer lifespan, are actually meaner (especially when it comes to food). They're constantly hungry and thus will fight for food.
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There's people already doing that. Depending on their "plan" they eat between 900-1200 calories a day. A few years back I tried 1200 calories a day for a month. It was very very hard keeping up with a normal (i.e. busy) lifestyle on that amount of food. You get very selective about eating food that has the most energy for the least amount of calories. I'm not sure an extended (or even a healthier old age) is worth that type of sacrifice for 40-50 years. I'm don't know if I was "meaner" (like that's possible) but I know I wasn't happy.
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This article is only being circulated because of the tightened global economy. And yeah, if it makes people angrier they'll be more likely to kill each other, so ya know, get out your aluminum foil beanies and head for the nuke shelter. Whatever. If you eat the healthiest food you can get, spread your intake out across five to seven small meals (snacks) a day, exercise, avoid unnecessary stress, leed a balanced lifestyle (mentally as well), etc., YOU'LL STILL DIE, but at least you'll be happier when you die. Maybe. At least, that's what I've been told. Can't tell you from experience. :3
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The link below leads to an analysis of the calorie-restrictive stories coming out:

An excerpt from an article in The New York Times quoted in the above article:

"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."
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I read about this years ago. Be careful in reporting this the way you have, though. You do need to eat enough or your body will begin to eat muscle, including your heart. That's how anorexics end up having heart attacks. I'm not positive, but I THINK that's how the founder died (young-ish, after proclaiming that he'd live to a very old age).You can't predict the future, and food is too good to pass up on entirely. I've seen the recipes, they were almost all vegetables and that was it. I like vegetables, but come on.

I'm guessing this has something to do with our evolution when food was scarce. Low calorie intake was the norm, all this extra stuff we're jamming into ourselves is making us sick. No surprise there. The mediterranean diet also has health and longevity benefits but you get to have wine and food that actually tastes good. I'd be mean if I was hungry all the time. You become obsessed with food. Ask anyone on a strict diet. Anorexics become chefs pretty often.
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"Another misconception repeated in mainstream media coverage was that the calorie restricted monkeys were eating 30% fewer calories than normal. Again, few people read carefully or went to the study methodology to understand that the monkeys were really eating about 30% less than the control monkeys. In actuality, the control animals were overfed 20% more than their usual diet, while the CR monkeys’ diets were adjusted to keep them about 30% less than the control monkeys." -for-longer.html
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There is no question that, all other factors being equal, lean and hungry mammals outlive their fat and satiated rivals.

How to apply that to individual humans is the issue. My suggestion is that if you want to live as long as possible (a goal to which I do not aspire), you exercise every morning until you breathe hard and sweat (but no longer), force yourself to skip one meal every two days even though you are hungry, never take alcohol, tobacco or other recreational drugs, engage in vigorous and frequent sex (getting sweaty and out of breath is allowed), get eight hours of sleep every night and brush your teeth after every meal.
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By and large genetics account as much towards good health and longevity as anything else.
Of course for this study, it's not that I would live longer, just that it would feel like it.
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Dr. Walford died at the young age of 79 from Lou Gherigs disease, which is one of the aging syndromes not protected against by caloric restriction.

That junkfoodscience article uses several flawed premises - she complains about monkeys being disqualified, and alleges that the study authors committed scientific fraud by omitting deaths - if the monkeys died because they bit each other fighting, then they should be disqualified from the test. That death had no bearing on whether they were on caloric restriction or not, and should be discarded under good study management. The woman at that blog makes her name by being smug and sniping at other peoples studies, so her motives are suspect.

Another point is that they did plain "caloric restriction" - in other words starving the monkeys with no effort to make up the vitamin and mineral deficit wrought by the diet. The right way for people to do CR is to do CRON - caloric restriction with optimal nutrition which makes sure every bit of the RDA is taken in every day with low calorie, nutrient dense foods. If her analysis of the study is correct (which I doubt), the study was not done well, which explains the null results. There are hundreds of other studies with all sorts of animals that show a clear increase in longevity not only for CR, but especially for CRON diets.
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@#9: Saith Wikipedia: "Research in various countries has found the all-cause mortality rates range from 16 to 28% lower among moderate drinkers (1–2 drinks per day) than among abstainers."

Also, Re:
"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."

That doesn't specifically disprove the theory behind CR. It means the study was null and we can't draw any conclusions from it. However, they _did_ see qualitative effects that were interesting and probably should be investigated further.

It's hardly junk science...just junk reporting.
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So, the CR diet caused the monkeys to die of age related factors less, but still lived the same age on average due to being unhealthy and violent.

This doesn't sound appealing at all.
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Hm, sorry. I was wrong about his heart attack, and the young-ish age. Still, 79 is not worth giving up food for me. ALS is rare, but accidents and homicides are not. I'm all for preventive medicine but a prescription involving giving up something as universally fetishized as food seems unlikely to catch on. Ice cream is just worth it now and then if that's what you love, and you're a fatalist like me. We're fat storing creatures. Just because too much is bad for us doesn't mean we've evolved a mechanism to make us stop eating when we've covered all the nutritional bases. There was a time when we had to store all the fat we could. It's just mind over matter to use moderation and exercise regularly for some of us. CR seems to be for those who don't miss it and those who really, really love life. I'm sure it will benefit some people, but could also appeal to people with eating disorders as a label for the disease. I hope that if it does, they'll be careful to get the nutrition they need. In that case it might actually be beneficial, though not a cure for the psychological issues that underlie it.

Resveratrol is supposed to make you live longer, too. Ashkenazi Jews have a mutation that make them live longer, healthier lives under the right circumstances. That's my problem with life extending research. My 90 year old ashkenazi grandmother who is in perfect health aside from Alzheimer's. I know I don't want to live that long when I haven't seen a single suggestion of preserved cognitive functioning to go along with that old age. 110 and counting with dementia? No, thanks. People on CR must be betting on a cure within their lifetime. There's something to be said for advancing one part and expecting the other to catch up, I'm just not an optimist. (I am, however, verbose)
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Found this on one of the caloric restriction discussion groups:

As I suspected, Ms. Szwarc (junkscience) writes for a lobbying firm that denies global
warming, etc and is funded by McDonalds, among other conglomerates.  (If you
know who is paying for an opinion, you can generally figure out what it will

She is identified here as an "obesity crank" and for misinterpreting studies
and other sophistry here:
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Obviously, this is a controversial topic. People who struggle with blood sugar control and weight management, whether they have prediabetes or already have developed type 2 diabetes, generally do best with a healthy eating plan that emphasizes vegetables, grains and legumes that are low on the glycemic index plus lean proteins, coupled with regular moderate physical activity.

We write extensively about related issues at, especially the links between elevated blood sugar and gum disease that can interfere with diabetes control and significantly increase risk of serious health events such as heart attack, stroke and blindness.

- Charles Martin, DDS
Founder, Dentistry For Diabetics
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