Monkey study suggests restricting calories increase longevity
The latest findings from a study originally started in 1989 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison contradict those of the another project, an equally long study from the National Institute of Aging (NIA), that found no difference in survival between control-fed and caloric-restricted monkeys.
In the Wisconsin study, researchers have been following the progress of 76 rhesus monkeys at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center in Madison since they entered early adulthood between 7 and 14 years of age. The monkeys have been eating a diet reduced in calories by 30 percent. Meanwhile, another group of monkeys has been eating a diet where they can eat as much as they want. The results show that, compared with the calorie-restricted monkeys, the comparison monkeys had a 2.9 times higher risk of disease and a three-fold increased risk of death.
The UW team believes that many of the effects on aging and disease of restricting calorie intake are to do with how the body regulates energy: it reprograms metabolism, affects how fuel is used and how the organisms respond to changes in the environment as they age.