Less Calories - live longer debunked!

by SueW

 In the face of a 45 billion dollar diet industry, Hollywood stars starving to achieve super slimness and as high a percentage as 85 percent of American women, at any given time, on a diet, one study which has been quoted often, maintains that 'there is some evidence that restricting calories will increase longevity".  The study was based on the observation that lab rats when given a restricted diet, lived longer than their compatriots, allowed to eat as much as they wanted. But a scientist named Steven Austad, Ph.D., a professor of zoology at the University of Idaho, a 50 year old who is researching longevity, has debunked this study in the following manner:


1. He cannot replicate the results in his laboratory.  In his experiments, rats fed a restricted diet died faster than those not so restricted.

2. He stated that, in the study where the dieting rats lived longer, it was probably because those rats not so restricted, were overeating.  He explained that this would be easily true in an environment so different from nature.  In nature, food is hard to come by and costs a lot of energy to obtain whereas in the laboratory, food is easily obtainable and without any caloric expenditure.  Austad also pointed out that the lab rats dwelling in small cages, even with treadmills and exercisers, tended to exercise a lot less than they do in nature.

 In other words, in the study which concluded that rats which were dieted, lived longer than rats which were allowed unrestricted food, it wasn't that the dieting rats were more healthy than those eating 'normally' but that the dieting rats lived slightly longer than those other rats which were overfed and under-exercised.

Source "Smithsonian Magazine": Vol 28:#10, Jan 1998: Stewart, Douglas: "Solving the Aging Puzzle"