Researchers from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge have reported study findings that suggest calorie restriction slows the aging process in humans and could therefore possibly increase the lifespan.
While previous animal studies have suggested that fewer calories are associated with a slower aging process, this is the first study of its kind to examine the effects on humans.
Researchers enrolled 48 healthy, overweight participants in the 6-month trial. The individuals were assigned to one of four groups. The first group received a normal diet. The second group received a calorie-restricted diet that received 25 percent less calories than the daily requirement. The third group received a calorie-restricted diet with exercise (12.5 percent reduced calorie intake and 12.5 percent increase in energy expenditure). While a fourth group received a very low calorie diet (to maintain a 15 percent weight loss).
After the 6-month study period, researchers found the control (normal diet) group lost about 1 percent of their weight, while both groups receiving a calorie restricted diet lost about 10 percent. Individuals on the very low calorie diet lost approximately 14 percent of their weight.
Researchers observed lower blood levels of insulin after fasting and a lower body temperature in participants on the calorie restricted diets. Researchers also reported these individuals as having less DNA damage.
Since fasting insulin levels, lower body temperature and less DNA damage are all associated with the aging process, this preliminary study suggests that calorie restriction in humans may slow the aging process and may well extend life.
These latest findings appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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