Low-Calorie Diet Won't Help You Live Longer

Skinny monkeys didn't get increased lifespans
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2012 6:51 PM CDT
Low-Calorie Diet Won't Help You Live Longer
Monkeys who ate a low-calorie diet for years did not live longer than other monkeys.   (Shutterstock)

Eating a low-calorie diet may help mice live longer, but don't bank on it for yourself. The results of what the New York Times calls a "major, long-awaited study" on rhesus monkeys are in, and they cast serious doubt on the notion that eating a restricted diet increases lifespan. For the past 25 years, scientists kept the monkeys hungry, feeding them a diet 30% to 40% below normal. And in the end, the monkeys lived no longer than their well-fed peers.

The findings contradict the results of a 2009 study on monkeys, along with decades of studies on rodents. “This shows the importance of replication in science,” says one doctor who specializes in longevity. As for why skinny mice live longer, it may be that the low-cal diet works better in animals with generally short lifespans, but not so much with primates. The Los Angeles Times sees a silver lining, however, noting that the diet seemed to help the monkeys in the study ward off cancer. (More diet stories.)

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