Calorie Restriction and Aging; Eating to Live; Special Editions; by Richard Weindruch; 8 Page(s)
In 1935 scientists at Cornell University made an extraordinary discovery. By placing rats on a very low calorie diet, Clive M. McCay and his colleagues extended the outer limit of the animals' life span by 33 percent, from three years to four. They subsequently found that rats on low-calorie diets stayed youthful longer and suffered fewer late-life diseases than did their normally fed counterparts. Since the 1930s, calorie restriction has been the only intervention shown convincingly to slow aging in rodents (which are mammals, like us) and in creatures ranging from single-celled protozoans to round worms, fruit flies and fish.
Naturally, the great power of the method raises the question of whether it can extend survival and good health in people. That issue is very much open, but the fact that the approach works in an array of organisms suggests the answer could well be yes. Some intriguing clues from monkeys and humans support the idea, too.