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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Calorie restriction may not lead to longer life after all


There have been numerous animal studies showing that extreme calorie restriction can slow aging and increase longevity. For the first time, researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center and from the University of Colorado have challenged this assertion. Their studies on mice have shown that dietary restriction (DR) can sometimes shorten lifespans, rather than lengthening them.
The scientists used 41 discrete inbred strains of mice. The different strains showed a variety of responses to DR with some strains living longer and some shorter. Upon closer examination, the researchers found that those strains that had lost the most fat during the DR treatment had the shortest lifespans. Conversely, the mice that were able to hold onto their fat even under conditions of reduced calorie intake lived the longest.

These data do not contradict the many studies showing that DR does in fact lead to longer lives. Those results are well documented. However, these results calls into question how much variability there may be in the efficacy of the DR regiment within species. So don't start starving yourself yet.