Monkey Lesson: Eat Less, Live Longer
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2009 8:14 PM CDT
Rhesus monkeys Canto, 27, left, on a restricted diet, and Owen, 29, on an unrestricted diet, at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center.   (AP Photo/UW-Madison University, Jeff Miller)
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(Newser) – A landmark study of rhesus monkeys suggests one way to live to a ripe old age in good health: Eat less. A lot less. Monkeys on a strict diet over the past 20 years—as in, a whopping 30% fewer calories than normal—have proven to be a healthier bunch than a control group, with fewer cases of cancer, diabetes, and heart and brain disease, reports the New York Times.

“These data demonstrate that caloric restriction slows aging in a primate species,” say the researchers in Science. Some diehard humans already embrace the practice, but the idea of near-starvation limits its appeal. The findings are expected to boost the study of drugs such as resveratrol, found in red wine, that can mimic the benefits of a very-low-cal diet without all the hunger pangs.