A new study suggests that those who hope to live long lives should start reducing the portions on their plates. The study in Cell Metabolism followed 53 non-obese men and women over the course of two years, some of whom reduced the amount of calories they ate by 15%, reports Live Science. At that point, researchers put the participants through a series of tests. Yes, those who cut calories lost more weight than the control group, though that wasn't the goal, explains NPR. The more interesting discovery is that the calorie cutters showed a marked improvement in their metabolism. In short, it became more efficient.
"Restricting calories can slow your basal metabolism, and if by-products of metabolism accelerate aging processes, calorie restriction sustained over several years may help to decrease risk for chronic disease and prolong life," says lead author Leanne Redman of the Pennington Biomedical Research in Baton Rouge. The researchers acknowledge that the study is fairly small and fairly short, but it backs up similar findings in creatures such as rats and monkeys. As for the weight loss, the calories cutters dropped an average of 25 pounds. A scientist not involved with the study points out a potential drawback: Those who severely restrict calories often end up gaining back more weight in the long run, which could end up shortening longevity. (Another study suggests what matters is when you eat.)