Animal studies have shown that taking in fewer calories while still getting essential nutrients, extends life and slows progression of many age-related diseases. To try and determine how eating less can impact humans, researchers at the U.S National Institute on Aging conducted a 2-year study of 200 healthy adults.
Those who lowered their calorie intake by about 12% in year one, lost about 10% of their body weight and maintained their weight in year two. Improvements in areas related to heart disease included a 6% decrease in total cholesterol, a 4% drop in blood pressure and higher levels of good HDL cholesterol. The study, in the September issue of the Journal of Gerontology also showed that some had greater than expected decreases in bone density, pointing to the importance of medical monitoring during such a restriction.