The Present Bottom Line on Calorie Restriction

I noticed a recent review paper that does a good job of summing up the present consensus on the practice of calorie restriction - eating fewer calories while still obtaining all the necessary micronutrients - in humans:

There are currently no interventions or gene manipulations that can prevent, stop or reverse the aging process. However, there are a number of interventions that can slow down aging and prolong maximal lifespan up to 60% in experimental animals. Long-term calorie restriction without malnutrition and reduced function mutations in the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway are the most robust interventions known to increase maximal lifespan and healthspan in rodents.

Although it is currently not known if long-term calorie restriction with adequate nutrition extends maximal lifespan in humans, we do know that long-term calorie restriction without malnutrition results in some of the same metabolic and hormonal adaptations related to longevity in calorie restriction rodents. Moreover, calorie restriction with adequate nutrition protects against obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis, which are leading causes of morbidity, disability and mortality.


More studies are needed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of calorie restriction in humans and to characterize new markers of aging/longevity that can assist clinicians in predicting mortality and morbidity of the general population.

It should be clear by now that even absent significant longevity benefits in humans, there are many very good reasons to be practicing calorie restriction - such as a much better chance to avoid the common conditions that cut people short in later life. Every additional year of healthy life you can engineer for yourself is an extra year you can wait for longevity science to advance to produce methods of repair for the damage of aging. At the present pace of basic research, enabled by biotechnology that continues to improve at a breakneck rate, a few years is a significant length of time.


Yes, calorie restriction appears to give extra
years, but those advocating seem to not pay
attention to the condition of subject animal's
condition and behaviour while restricting diet.

These restricted animals, have poor coating, and seem less perceptive of their enviroment.
Seems to me they are living in kind of waking hibernation.

In human terms, so maybe you can live an extra
20-30 years. But if your cognitive perceptions
are reduced as well as other subjetive experience
then those extra years seem to be a way to pass
by time pretty blandly, (Hopefuly you can retain
enough cognition to retain a job.

Posted by: Admiral_Ritt at March 11th, 2009 9:54 AM

Admiral_Ritt: um, no. That's all wrong. Calorie restricted animals are in better health and vigor at all ages in comparison to their non-restricted counterparts.

In terms of cognitive function, research clearly demonstrates that restricted animals and people have greater resistance to neurodegeneration and better function at later ages.

Posted by: Reason at March 11th, 2009 10:17 AM

I think the studies are hypothetically flawed although I have no expertise in this field whatsoever. If lifespan is the time of your life how can a few years of calorie restriction mean that you can deduce that your entire lifespan is effected? It does not add up (to me). I think there is something in the findings but the conclusions are off the mark. I look over a decade younger than my years already but I don't do that. Possibly it's some real life proof and better than a rat example.

Posted by: Christopher Hanlon at March 15th, 2009 9:10 PM

Admiral_Ritt or Reason
These restricted animals, have poor coating, and seem less perceptive of their environment.

The study where these observations are stated?

Please pro or con Admiral_Ritt or Reason? It looks like your both reading about different studies and results.

What are the FACTS of these conditions in rodents or other mammals that were on a calorie restriction diet while still obtaining all the necessary micronutrients?

Thanks, tabjr

Posted by: tabjr at March 16th, 2009 10:08 AM

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