A new study investigates calorie restriction in hu-mans. Catherine MacBride/Stocksy Laboratory studies have found that some animals on calorie-restricted diets live longer.Researchers are keen to find out whether there is a similar effect in people.
Now, a small-scale study suggests that moderate calorie restriction may benefit human health.
The researchers identified a key protein that might increase the “health span,” the number of disease-free years a person lives.
Laboratory studiesTrusted Source of animals, in-cluding rats, fruit flies, worms, and mice, show that those fed a calorie-restricted diet may live up to twice as long as those with an unrestricted diet.
Now, a team led by researchers from Yale University has investigated the effects of calorie restriction in people. Their findings, which appear in Science, may eventually lead to new ways to extend healthy life.
In animal studies, calorie reductions of 40% are common. However, as the authors of the new study explain, this effects growth, reproduction, and im-munityTrusted Source. In the human study, calories were reduced by only 14%.Unlike many weight loss diets, a calorie-restricted diet involves small reductions of habitual calorie intakeTrusted Source over a long period. People usually lose some weight, but this is not the main aim of calorie restriction.
The researchers set out to investigate whether calorie restriction had similar health benefits in people as they did in other animals. They also wanted to identify any mechanisms behind these benefits.
Over 2 years, the team assessed just over 200 people, aged 21–50 years. All were participants in the Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE) clinical trial.
All the participants had a body mass index of 22.0 to 27.9, putting them in the healthy, non-obese category.
The CALERIE trial had already shown a reduction in cardiometabolic risk factorsTrusted Source, involving cholesterol levels and blood pressure, in this group.
Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic, told Medical News Today:
“The data presented in the study was very interest-ing. There have been multiple research studies on calorie restriction and lower carbohydrate profiles that are important to consider. The addition of this research is beneficial to advancing and supporting other findings.”