Jason Pontin on Calorie Restriction

Jason Pontin's encounter with MPrize volunteers and Three Hundred members at the recent Methuselah Foundation dinner he was kind enough to host has resulted in this short article on calorie restriction at the MIT Technology Review:

A small number of people restrict their caloric intake in pursuit of longer life. So what do they eat for the holidays?


In the mid-1990s, Leonard Guarente, a molecular biologist at MIT, discovered a gene in yeast and worms (called SIR-2) that responds to caloric restriction by producing an enzyme that shuts down long stretches of DNA involved with metabolism and aging.

Today, a small number of people try to trigger the therapeutic benefits of SIR-2 by practicing caloric restriction with optimal nutrition, CRON, or more simply, CR.

Not quite correct on the science; I think it's jumping the gun to claim that researchers know exactly how calorie restriction works at this stage. Overall a fairly positive piece, however, which should please other advocates at the CR Society.

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This article might be worth checking out:


It seems that intermittent fasting (getting enough calories but eating every other day) produced the same cellular response as a low calorie diet, but without the down-sides of muscle wasting and organ weight loss.

Posted by: Brock at December 23rd, 2005 6:59 AM



I think the jury is still out on the best approach to triggering these desired biochemical changes. It should become much more clear in the next couple of years by working back from the final, established mechanism by which CR works...whatever it turns out to be.

Posted by: Reason at December 23rd, 2005 3:28 PM

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