|Photo from National Institutes of Health|
"The data demonstrating that caloric restriction (CR) increasing longevity is impressive, at least for yeast, worms and flies. It was generally thought that this link between CR and longevity was evolutionarily conserved in mammals as well, as evidence from several mouse and rat studies seemed to indicate. (However, even the mouse data has come under scrutiny as the CR effect does not seem to work nearly as well in when these studies are carried out on mice with more diverse genetic backgrounds, you know, like the ones in your attic as opposed to the inbred lab strains.)
"The primate studies, however, have been obviously more problematic to carry out, considering the cost and time required to get the results can be 20 years or more. This, of course, has not discouraged some people, including some very prominent scientist, to adopt this seriously restrictive diet by choice. Personally, I thought they were nuts to do so; but the field of aging research has always attracted extreme positions and is littered with false or exceedingly thin claims and snake oil salesmen, despite the general field of aging research becoming more mainstream. So what have we learned? Hypothesis fail. Experimental designs are flawed. Things are more complicated than we thought. And I can assert that my own small number of encounters of people on the CR diet suggest that they don't look so good, i.e., pale, gaunt, and a bit listless. So enjoy your meal, wine and chocolate, and maybe the field of aging research will move on to a more interesting and scientifically compelling hypothesis to spend our NIH dollars on."