Taking a Low-Calorie Diet Could Prolong One’s Lifespan, Study Shows

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Embarking on a new diet can be challenging, especially for older adults who may feel it’s not worthwhile at their age. However, recent research from the University of Connecticut indicates that implementing dietary changes, even later in life, can substantially enhance health and prolong lifespan.

Low caloric diet could solve the problem of obesity

This conclusion is based on a study involving fruit flies, but it is noteworthy for its potential relevance to humans. Despite the significant biological differences between the two organisms, approximately 75% of the genes responsible for human diseases are shared with fruit flies. This genetic similarity enables researchers to investigate and comprehend the impact of these genes on health conditions and different diseases in people.

The predominant health issue facing humans is obesity, a global concern associated with various metabolic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Animal studies consistently demonstrate that caloric restriction, without malnutrition, can prolong lifespan. Human trials also suggest health benefits from reduced calorie intake, especially for obese individuals, though the impact on lifespan remains challenging to conclusively establish.

The UConn research, led by geneticist Blanka Rogina, investigated the impact of a high-sugar, high-protein, and high-calorie diet on fruit flies, mimicking a processed diet. The flies showed metabolic changes resembling those in obese humans. Notably, when the flies were transitioned to a low-caloric diet later in life, they showed substantial metabolic improvements and increased lifespan.

High-calorie diet increases body lipids

Fruit flies on high-calorie diets have shorter lifespans, surviving less than 80 days compared to low-calorie diet counterparts lasting up to 120 days. The study, examining diet effects on young and old male flies, found that young flies switching to a low-caloric diet at 20 days lived longer as those on a low-caloric diet from the beginning.

Older flies on a high-calorie diet exhibited increased body lipids, higher energy expenditure against oxidative stress, and elevated mortality. However, switching these flies to a low-calorie diet at 50 or 60 days significantly improved metabolism and lifespan. The findings suggest potential benefits for late-life diet shifts in obese humans, improving health.

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