Published: January 05, 2023
Calorie restriction (CR) appears to delay the onset of age-related diseases.
Indications that CR could extend mammalian average and maximum life spans began to emerge in 1935.
Since then numerous long term studies on animals, such as mice and primates, appear to support CR in the quest for longevity and delayed onset of age-related disease.
However, some studies do not support the claim that CR increases longevity and reduces the onset of age-related disease.
The contradictory results may be due to the differences in the diets that the study population is provided with.
The diets that the study animals are fed are calorie restricted, but met their nutritional requirements.
Thus CR is more than just reducing the number of calories you eat.
It is important to note that in most studies CR refers to a 20-40% reduction of "ad libitum" or unrestricted consumption.
There is usually the proviso of maintaining adequate nutrient intake, which will differ among subjects to some degree.
Where adequate nutrient intake is maintained CR may:
- increase longevity
- reduce morbidity and autoimmune disease
- reduce the age related onset of atherosclerosis, CVD, cancer, diabetes, renal disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and respiratory diseases
Coleman RJ, et al. Caloric Restriction Delays Disease Onset and Mortality in Rhesus Monkeys. Science 325, 201 (2009);
Trepanowski JF, et al. Impact of caloric and dietary restriction regimens on markers of health and longevity in humans and animals: a summary of available findings. Nutrition Journal 2011;10:107
Schardt D. Are There Benefts of Intermittent Fasting? Here is what researchers have discovered about fasting some days per week. Nutrition Action, March 24, 2014
Welton et al. Intermittent fasting and weight loss: a systematic review. Canadian family physician;2020:66:117