View Full Version : Restricting Calories = Longer Life Span?

The Director
05-04-2007, 10:17 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists have known for seven decades that mice, dogs, fruit flies and other animals given diets bordering on starvation tended to live up to 40 percent longer than their better-fed cousins.

Now they think they know why.

They identified a gene in roundworms on Wednesday that directly links calorie restriction to longer lifespan.

The researchers, led by Andrew Dillin of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, said a gene called pha-4 plays a role in gut development in embryonic worms but in adults is associated with calorie-restricted longevity.

Dillin said it is unclear whether similar genes may play a similar role in humans.

People have three genes very much like the worm's pha-4. They are related to glucagon, a pancreatic hormone that increases blood sugar concentration and maintains the body's energy balance, particularly during fasting, they said.

Pinpointing the worm gene might open the door to drugs that imitate the effects of calorie restriction and could allow people to live longer without following such a severely restrictive diet, the researchers report in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

"We don't know yet whether or not dietary restriction will increase longevity in humans," Dillin said in a conference call with reporters. Experts are testing the diets in monkeys.

"There are several people that are actively doing this voluntarily," Dillin added.

"But there is a primate study that's going on that's around 35 years into it, and it looks like the primates are going to respond very well to reduced food intake and actually live longer."

Dillin said it usually takes a 50 to 70 percent reduction in normal food intake to yield longer lifespan in animals.

"If you reduce food too much, you're going to go toward starvation and actually live shorter," Dillin said.

"If you overeat -- have the Big Mac diet, high-calorie content -- you're going to come to obesity and have a short life span as well. So dietary restriction is really a sweet spot in between the two."



05-04-2007, 10:25 PM
Could be, but people who are underweight have less longevity than people who are slightly overweight according to last semester's health class.

05-04-2007, 10:35 PM
Just wait few more weeks and you'll see another study contradicting the previous
one, and it goes on and on....

05-04-2007, 10:39 PM
No, it is not.

First off, the studies are invalid for several reasons.

1.) What applies to rats doesnt necessarily apply to humans... at all
Edit: and worms are an even worse test subject... At least rats are a mammal/vertebrate.

2.) The rats in these studies are fed low quality pellets filled with more crap than our own fast food. 2 times the calories = 2 times the toxins for the body. IF these rats were fed natural foods, that their bodies are designed for, the results would be completely different.

Eating more of today's typical foods can decrease lifespan simply becuase you are exposing your body to that much more toxins, free radicals, etc etc.

Eating 4000 calories of today's typical foods, and clean, unprocessed, possibly organic foods are two completely different worlds.

In addition, there are many risks and drawbacks to eating a reduced calorie diet.

One of those is quality of living, especially in your later years. People who are skinny, underfed sticks & do not engage in the intensive training that BBers do are much more likely to suffer from decreased BMD, and other bone/joint problems.

05-04-2007, 10:45 PM
Excellent reply mtguy8787! you deserve credit.