Restricting calories may not prolong your life
August 29th, 2012
01:01 PM ET

Restricting calories may not prolong your life

Calorie restriction has long been used to examine aging in rodents and monkeys. Past studies have shown that restricting calories in a nutritious diet by 10 to 40% can delay or prevent chronic diseases, slow aging and increase life spans.

But new research published this week in the journal Nature shows quite the opposite – that calorie restriction does not improve survival outcomes. Turns out, the issue may be more complicated than first thought.

The study

Researchers at the National Institute of Aging have been studying the effects of calorie restriction in rhesus monkeys for more than 20 years in hopes of eventually applying the results to humans.

Male and female monkeys of all ages are enrolled in the study. The experimental group eats approximately 25% fewer calories than the control group. Any animal that dies during the study undergoes a necropsy (an autopsy performed on an animal) to find the probable cause of death.

The results

Older monkeys who began the calorie-restricted diet weighed significantly less than monkeys in the control group. They had lower levels of triglycerides (fatty acids) and cholesterol.

Yet the calorie-restricted older monkeys did not live any longer than their counterparts. There were also no apparent differences in the causes of death between the two.

Twenty percent of the young monkeys in the calorie-restricted group have died of age-related causes, compared to 24% of the control group.

The calorie-restricted younger monkeys weigh less, but do not have significantly lower levels of fasting glucose or triglycerides. Cancer rates were improved in the calorie-restricted group, but diabetes and cardiovascular disease were detected in both.

“Even the control monkeys in our study are very healthy and demonstrate an increased survival relative to other captive populations of monkeys,” said study author Dr. Julie Mattison. “It is possible that we have maximized the survival benefits in our colony and thus a reduction in calories provides no further benefit relative to their very healthy control counterparts.”

Approximately 50% of the younger monkeys in the study are still alive. Using the data already collected, researchers estimate a less than 0.1% chance that the calorie restriction diet will have a favorable effect on their survival.

The other study

Scientists at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center are doing a parallel study using rhesus monkeys on a 30% calorie restricted diet. They have reported improved survival rates in their primates.

Mattison says the differences in the monkeys’ diet composition in each study could contribute to the varying results. The NIA monkeys are from China and India, whereas the Wisconsin monkeys come only from India; the genetic makeup in each could be different.

The NIA authors say further comparisons of the two studies are “warranted and planned.”

The takeaway

First and foremost, Mattison stresses that a calorie-restricted diet is meant for studying aging, not as a “prescription for human health.” Anyone interested in following a similar plan should first speak to their doctor.

The second takeaway is that we still need more information.

“The effects of (calorie restriction) are multi-faceted in a longer-lived subject such as a monkey and it is necessary to dissect the interplay of number of calories and source of calories," Mattison says. "Unless we understand which pathways are being affected by this metabolic stress, we can’t control the many other variables that might contribute to the effect."

« Previous entry
soundoff (409 Responses)
  1. Thurman

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about cholesterol.

    My web blog: Thurman

    April 30, 2021 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. pharmacy drugstore online

    Antibiotics pharmacy drugstore online canadian pharmacy viagra generic

    April 30, 2021 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. iJfWaaXUzt

    persuasive essay buy reportage essays on the new world order doing homework pictures dogs and cats essay

    May 1, 2021 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. UnOLqgztyU

    help with statistics coursework community service learning essay empire of the sun essay help research papers in service marketing

    May 1, 2021 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. resurge reviews 2021

    I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your site?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got
    to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

    May 1, 2021 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. resurge supplement review

    Link exchange is nothing else but it is simply placing the other person's website link on your page at appropriate place
    and other person will also do similar for you.

    May 1, 2021 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. canadian generic pills

    canadian diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    May 1, 2021 at 20:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. cialis lilly rezeptfrei

    Generic cipla cialis cialis lilly rezeptfrei generic
    cialis for daily use

    May 2, 2021 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. generic cialis tadalafil 20mg

    Online generic cialis gensitecil.com buy cialis

    May 2, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. kvrlAdyssd

    reasons for not doing my homework national junior honor society essay help business continuity plan fire service the pearl by john steinbeck essay help

    May 2, 2021 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. viagra and cialis

    Buy cialis at walmart http://gensitecil.com/ generic cialis

    May 2, 2021 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. purchase cialis in montreal

    Overnight pharmacy 4u cialis gensitecil.com cialis supr active

    May 3, 2021 at 03:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. cialis online delivery overnight

    Cialis med dapoxetine cialis online delivery overnight cialis and viagra

    May 3, 2021 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. fastest delivery of cialis

    Cialis 10mg tablets cileve.com where can i buy original

    May 3, 2021 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. avana

    avanafil stendra dosage avanafil 200

    May 3, 2021 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. hHASpZLGxH

    homework help philosophy reasoning and critical thinking need help writing a narrative essay essay polish service i couldnt do my homework because

    May 3, 2021 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. tlJEWhtgAN

    best place to buy an essay essay writing service industry primary school homework help essy tree service billings mt

    May 3, 2021 at 22:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. generic cialis india

    Brand cialis online http://asciled.com/ cialis generic
    versus brand name

    May 3, 2021 at 23:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. BYDLHBDqTw

    creative consequences for not doing homework need help writing an essay for college my first web service asp net tulsa county library homework help

    May 4, 2021 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. VQdPRJpFAF

    does money buy happiness in the great gatsby need help for writing essay high school physics help do my coursework online uk

    May 5, 2021 at 03:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. cialis forsale

    Cialis super active cheap http://cileve.com/ cialis in australia

    May 5, 2021 at 04:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. generic cialis black

    Cialis 20mg for sale http://cileve.com/ cheap.

    generic cialisis

    May 5, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. canadian pharmacy non rx cialis

    Cialis to buy asciled.com buy cialis and receive in 48 hrs

    May 5, 2021 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. generic cialis cheapest

    Cheap cialis by post generic cialis cheapest cialis

    May 5, 2021 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. buy generic cialis

    Cialis dapoxetine online canada asciled.com
    buy cialis cheap

    May 5, 2021 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. generic of cialis

    Buy some cialis generic of cialis viagra vs cialis forum

    May 6, 2021 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. priligy

    priligy uk price priligy uk price

    May 6, 2021 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. i want to buy cialis in australia

    Mastercard cialis i want to buy cialis in australia buy cialis cheap online

    May 6, 2021 at 04:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. vwvZwdoVsZ

    buy research papers examples of satirical essays corporate finance coursework help buy an essay online

    May 6, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. ZgRSPrfrac

    writing the best college essay essay writing service guardian dt homework help ks3 need help writing narrative essay

    May 6, 2021 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. cheap cialis alternatives

    Discount cialis from india asciled.com cialis online canadian

    May 6, 2021 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. cialis without prescription

    Generic cialis for sale cialis without prescription cialis for women dosage

    May 6, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. chinese cialis

    Cialis voucher chinese cialis generic cialis coupons

    May 7, 2021 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. sMGPwSuYBQ

    self help is the best help essay ap english language essay help homework help nj example of a short speech

    May 7, 2021 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. qmjIxXfSnU

    best essay writing service uk yahoo essay commentary help where to buy an essay online umi order dissertation

    May 7, 2021 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. clozapine

    chloroquine without prescription https://chloroquineorigin.com/ anti-malaria drug chloroquine

    May 7, 2021 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. cialis free samples

    Cialis reviews photos cileve.com buy cialis without

    May 8, 2021 at 01:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. DZKDxjqBIS

    sirius xm monopoly to kill a mockingbird critical essay help custom writing hoodies resume writing service oakland ca

    May 8, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. YAGBNrlQrJ

    homework help robots need help with essay cooperative bank will writing service homework help clovis ca

    May 8, 2021 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. priligy

    dapoxetine brand name buy priligy

    May 8, 2021 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. FaelGat

    how to buy viagra online
    viagra 20mg tablets jump to
    cheapest viagra without a prescription
    – viagra at 70 plus
    https://nodoctrprescript.com/# – buy viagra without doctor prescription
    viagra total posts

    May 10, 2021 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Delia Vallo

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs


    May 10, 2021 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. FeznNoite

    viagra nz
    viagra coupon cvs threads
    cheap sildenafil citrate 20mg
    – viagra, viagra or levitra. which is best
    https://viagraxlc.com/# – what is sildenafil used for in dogs
    viagra tadalafil 20mg price guestbook.asp?action=

    May 11, 2021 at 04:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. zkuBMSpzvc

    tulsa city county library homework help essay help math homework help app java programming assignments help

    May 11, 2021 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. BGXUFqlhTP

    how to select best essay writing service write community service essay cv writing service slough get paid for doing others homework

    May 11, 2021 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Gregg Tardio

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    May 11, 2021 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. nSyGUGcBHk

    commitment to community service essay write essay online help help sat essay professional resume writing service cleveland ohio

    May 12, 2021 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. OUtnPprhIO

    homework help tutor jobs meaning of community service essay td small business service plans service quality dimension thesis

    May 12, 2021 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. www potenzmittel viagra net

    Viagra prodajem www potenzmittel viagra net viagra apio

    May 13, 2021 at 06:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. does viagra lose potency overtime

    Take viagra for fun http://loxviagra.com/ viagra store india

    May 13, 2021 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

« Previous entry
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.