Sunday, August 16, 2009

A life worth living is worth shortening. 

Life extension through calorie restricted diet is a phenomenon that's been known for decades. Eat less than normal, a lot less, and live longer than normal, maybe a lot longer.

It's long been proven in "laboratory species" such as fruit flies, fungi and mice, but never in "higher" species -- such as primates, like humans. Until now.

For two decades now a study has been run on rhesus monkeys that have been divided into two groups, one placed for life on a 30%-below-normal calorie restricted diet, and the other feasting on "all you can eat" meal service. Now the results are coming in.

An op-ed in the New York Times reports two findings:

1) Calorie restriction works for this primate. The monkeys on the calorie-restricted diets are living significantly longer.

2) The monkeys on the restricted diet are miserable, "drawn, weary, ashen and miserable in thinness, mouth slightly agape, features pinched". The all-they-can-eaters are smiling, happy and plush.

There's a moral in there somewhere about the trade-offs we all must face in living the one life granted to us all.

I'll try to figure it out as I have another non-light beer with my bacon cheeseburger and fries.