Washington July 10 Consuming fewer calories ensures a longer, healthier life, according to research on restricted diets involving monkeys.
A team of researchers reported that a nutritious but reduced-calorie diet blunts aging and delays the onset of disorders such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and brain atrophy.
“We have been able to show that caloric restriction can slow the aging process in primate species,” said Richard Weindruch, from the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, who led the study.
“We observed that caloric restriction reduced the risk of developing an age-related disease by a factor of three and increased survival,” he added.
During the 20-year course of the study, 50 percent of the animals permitted to eat freely survived. In the other group, 80 percent of the monkeys given the same diet, but with 30 percent fewer calories, are still alive.
All of the animals in the study were enrolled as adults at ages ranging from seven to 14 years. Today, 33 animals remain in the study, said a UW-Madison release.
Of those, 13 are given free rein at the dinner table, and 20 are on a calorie-restricted diet. Rhesus macaques have an average life span of about 27 years in captivity. The oldest animal currently in the study is 29 years.
The new report was published in the Friday edition of Science.