At the age of 80, I am interested in anything that might add a few to my remaining days. For that reason, this article in the Alumni Magazine of the University of Colorado piqued my interest.
In 1935 in upstate New York, a little-known animal husbandry researcher named Clive McKay looked into the rat cage in his lab and found an unexpected window into the Fountain of Youth.
Conventional wisdom at the time held that the more animals were fed, the better they’d fare. But McKay noticed something different: Long after the well-fed rats began to show signs of aging, those on a nutrient-dense but super-low-calorie diet retained a silky sheen to their fur, remained alert and agile and lacked the age-related health problems of their more gluttonous peers. In the end, the calorie-restricted mice also lived about 300 days longer — nearly a third of a lifetime in rat years.
Fast forward to 2020, and studies in everything from fruit flies and worms to monkeys and people have confirmed that sharply restricting calories (by 20-40 percent) while maintaining essential nutrients can fend off age-related diseases and, in some cases, extend lifespan. The problem: People like to eat, so almost no one is willing to do it. And it can be dangerous. Continue reading