It sounds simple enough: severely limit your caloric intake and you will live longer. But does it work?
Scientists decided to test this theory that has been touted by health experts for years to see if they had really found a “longevity diet”. Using rhesus monkeys, which are very genetically similar to humans, they fed some only 70% of a normal diet. The remainder they let eat freely. And, although the restricted monkeys had better cholesterol and triglyceride levels, the monkeys basically had the same life expectancy.
This is different from earlier monkey research that seemed to suggest that calorie restriction created longevity. However, the earlier study gave the control monkeys the equivalent of an American’s sugar intake. It is thought that the increased sugar led to the early death of the monkeys.
So, what does that mean for us?
1. You don’t need to starve yourself to be healthy. Following your body’s cues as to how much to eat will guide you to the appropriate amounts.
2. Don’t overdo it on the sugar. It is clear that too much sugar is dangerous for our bodies, so limit it as much as you can.
3. There may not be a “longevity diet” that exists, but balance is the key. Eating a mix of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins is essential for a long and healthy life.