PARIS - Agance France-Presse
A low-calorie diet boosts health but does not prolong life, at least not in rhesus monkeys, scientists reported Wednesday in a new study into a long-held link between food restriction and longevity.
Spanning 23 years, the research found monkeys that ate fewer calories than non-dieting counterparts were healthier but did not live any longer. Rhesus monkeys are a preferred choice for lab study, as they are long-lived primates like humans; their average lifespan in captivity is 27 years and the usual maximum is 40 years. The exceptionally long study, launched at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in Maryland in 1987, saw monkeys of different ages fed a diet 30 percent lower in calories than others that followed a “normal,” nutritious diet. Animals in both groups lived on average longer than wild rhesus monkeys and were heavier too. They were given vitamin and mineral supplements.
Those on the calorie-restricted diet had a lower incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer than the rest, and dieting males also had lower cholesterol.