A 25-year study in rhesus monkeys fed 30% less than control animals represents another setback for the notion that a simple, diet-triggered switch can slow aging. Instead, the findings suggest that genetics and dietary composition matter more for longevity than a simple calorie count.
When the NIA-funded monkey study began, studies of caloric restriction in short-lived animals were hinting at a connection. Starvation made roundworms live longer and rats fed fewer calories than their slow and balding brethren maintained their shiny coats and a youthful vigor. More recently, molecular studies had suggested that caloric restriction — or compounds that mimicked it — might trigger a cascade of changes in gene expression that had the net effect of slowing aging.
Not any more.
Calorie restriction falters in the long run Amy Maxmen, Nature News
Citation: Julie A. Mattison, George S. Roth, T. Mark Beasley, Edward M. Tilmont, April M. Handy, Richard L. Herbert, Dan L. Longo, David B. Allison, Jennifer E. Young, Mark Bryant, Dennis Barnard, Walter F. Ward, Wenbo Qi, Donald K. Ingram, Rafael de Cabo, 'mpact of caloric restriction on health and survival in rhesus monkeys from the NIA study', Nature (2012) doi:10.1038/nature11432