posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 04:12 PM
Study of monkeys shows cutting calories could prevent disease but doesn't increase longevity
For 75 years, scientists have documented a curious fact: If rats and mice eat 30%-40% fewer calories than usual, they live 15%-40% longer than is
typical for their species. The observation has offered humans hope that our own maximum life-span could one day be extended, permitting people to live
well past their 100th birthday.
A new study in monkeys pours cold water on that notion -- while at the same time offering some heartening health news.
Among a colony of rhesus monkeys tracked for more than 20 years, animals whose calories were restricted to 30% below normal lived no longer on average
than monkeys whose eating was unrestricted, scientists found. But the diet did offer clear benefits, notably in warding off cancer.
I've been rather cautious when referring to the efficacy of caloric restriction on extending longevity for the reason above. As the article
mentions, there was a previous study
, the only other testing the hypothesis on
primates, which yielded supporting evidence for the hypothesis; however, in light of the latest study, perhaps we should pump the brakes before
jumping to conclusions.
On the bright side, caloric restriction in primates certainly does seem to promote health in general. So, while eating less may not make
primates--including humans--live longer, it may help retard the development and progression of cancer, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease...
which, of course, would lead to a better quality of life.
For instance, in the latest study, there has been no diagnoses of cancer in the calorically restricted monkeys vs. 6 confirmed cases in the ad libitum
Personally, I'd like to get my hands on the full articles to get more details on both studies. Specifically, I'd like to know exactly what these
guys were eating and exactly how much; if there were different habits observed between the two groups; what the difference in metabolic rates were
between the two group; et cetera.
Anyway, let the recent study be a reminder that data on nutrition science can't always be transferred from insect and rodent models to primates and