Alex Millson & Michelle Fay Cortez
BLOOMBERG – Cutting calories by 25 per cent can slow the rate of ageing in humans and lead to a significant reduction in mortality risk, according to a new study from Columbia University.
In a randomised controlled trial, one group was fed a calorie-restricted diet for two years, while others followed their regular diets.
The researchers examined levels of a biomarker in the volunteers’ DNA – measured before and after the study – that’s known to change with age.
Results showed those eating a calorie-restricted diet displayed a two- to three-per-cent slowing in the pace of ageing, which, according to earlier studies, equates to a 10 to 15-per-cent reduction in mortality risk – similar to that experienced by a smoker who has quit.
Research scientist at Columbia’s Butler Aging Center and co-lead author of the study Calen Ryan acknowledged long-term calorie restriction isn’t practical for much of the population.
“Our findings are important because they provide evidence from a randomised trial that slowing human ageing may be possible.
“They also give us a sense of the kinds of effects we might look for in trials of interventions that could appeal to more people, like intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating.”
The team is now monitoring the trial’s participants to see whether slowing the pace of ageing in the short term could have longer-term effects on healthy ageing.