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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Lean, Hungry, and Long-Lived
20 April 2004 (All day)
It's been shown in mice, fish, and yeast; now the first study of long-term calorie restriction in humans suggests that if you really want to live longer, eat less.
Few people are willing to cut back drastically on their caloric intake for years on end. But researchers at Washington University in St. Louis managed to locate 18 (15 of them men), aged 25 to 82, who have spent an average of 6 years following nutritionally balanced diets recommended by the Calorie Restriction Society. The scientists compared them with 18 people, otherwise clean livers, on a "typical Western diet." On average, the subjects ate 1700 calories a day, compared with at least 2100 for the controls, says lead investigator Luigi Fontana, who also works for the Italian institute of health.
Dr. Atkins notwithstanding, the subjects lost a lot of weight while consuming 46% of their calories as complex carbohydrates. Their "bad" cholesterol, blood lipids, and diabetes risk markers went way down. Blood pressures dropped to childhood levels. The subjects' bodies were 9% fat--compared with 24% for controls and, surprisingly, with 12% for people who run 50 miles a week, says Fontana. And none of the dieters had plaque on their carotid arteries, the scientists report online 19 April in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
William Harlan, a nutrition expert and clinical trials adviser to the National Institute of Mental Health, calls the study "provocative." He points out that even though the study subjects were self-selected, "the differences that are present are striking. ... More studies like this [would] provide us a better idea of what a truly healthful diet would look like."