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  • Calorie intake and body weight affect longevity

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Wednesday, March 03, 2004 3:44 pm Email this article
    "Both caloric intake and [body weight]... are related to lifespan," conclude researchers of a new study performed on rats.

    Reductions in body weight account for approximately 11 percent of the beneficial effect from calorie restriction, the authors determined. (p. 357, top)

    A higher body weight in early adulthood increased mortality later in life, even after adjusting for calorie restiction. (p. 357, top)

    However, they found that bodyweight in late adulthood has no effect on mortality. (p. 360, col. 1) Human studies suggest this is also true in humans.

    This has two implications:

    1) the medical community should strongly focus on preventing and treating obesity in children, teenagers, and young adults; and

    2) the medical community should be less concerned with weight in older adults than in younger adults, and should seriously weigh the risks of giving older adults medicines to help them lose weight against what seems to be the minimal benefits on lifespan.

    Scientists have known since the 1930’s that low calorie diets increase lifespan in animals.


    The authors also note that body fat may be more important than body weight.

    ?Evidence shows that the selective reduction in particular depots of body fat may have profound beneficial effects on health,? the authors state. (p. 361, col. 2)


    ?Body weight may mediate some, but not most, of the [beneficial] calorie restriction effects on [mortality],? the authors concluded. (p. 362, col. 1)


    My interest in life extension started in 1982 after seeing Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw on the Merv Griffin television show. They talked about studies done back in the 1930’s in which researchers fed rats low calorie diets and the rats lived much longer than normal ? 40, 50, 60 percent longer than normal.

    I was shocked that I had not learned this important information in school.

    Durk and Sandy had written a book, Life Extension: A Scientific Practical Approach, but it wasn’t out yet. So, I went to the the library to see what books were available. There was only one book on the shelves, a book called “Prolongevity”.

    Seeing that Merv Griffin show changed the direction of my life.


    Wang C, Weindruch R, Fernandez J, Coffey C, Patel P, Allison D. Caloric restriction and body weight independently affect longevity in wistar rats. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Mar, 28(3):357-62.

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