Calorie Cuts Don’t Increase Lifespan

Rhesus Monkey Calorie Reduction Diet No Lifespan Gains

Thinking of following in the footsteps of the famous Methuselah Mice, and increasing your lifespan 40% with a 30% cut to your calorie intake?

Unfortunately,  new research with Rhesus monkeys might take the wind out of your sails a bit.


Sad Monkey Wind Taken Out of Sails

All in Your Genes?

The twenty-five year longitudinal experiment on primate calorie restriction published in Nature journal this August shows that whilst calorie restriction does result in health benefits for monkeys, longevity isn’t one of them. It seems instead that (for primates at least) lifespan may have more to do with good genes and a generally healthy diet, rather than a low-calorie diet specifically.

And although previous research had indicated a potential connection between calorie restriction and life expectancy in Rhesus monkeys, methodological issues with the research means the results weren’t considered statistically significant.

Well I’ll Be a Monkey’s Uncle

This new research casts doubt over the decades of experiments with lab rats and mice on calorie restriction and lifespan, as Rhesus monkeys are much more closely related to humans. In other words, these new results are likely more valid as an indicator of the effects of calorie restriction on people.

But don’t grab that celebratory triple cheeseburger just yet!


Celebratory Triple Cheeseburger

The results still clearly indicated that monkeys consuming fewer calories had lower levels of cholesterol, cancer, and general aging-related disorders. And the research did show a strong link between a generally healthy diet and lifespan.

If anything, these findings probably simply indicate there’s no easy answer (yet) to increasing longevity. Your best bet is still probably a mostly healthy diet rich in fresh fruit and veges, nuts, legumes and seafood, low in animal fats; combined with regular low-impact exercise.

What do you think?

Is the evidence really compelling enough to make it worth cutting 30% of your daily calorie intake? With the average adult diet 2200 calories per day, that’s the equivalent of cutting out about a Big Mac and Fries worth of caloric intake every day.

No Small Fry

Which is no small fry



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