According to a new study, healthier diets could stall issues associated with old age. However, the researchers are still debating whether eating healthier actually plays a role in longevity. Because humans are particularly difficult to study, science turned to monkeys, this time, in order to better understand the aging process and everything associated with it.
Similar studies conducted in past on longevity and healthier lifestyle have oftentimes contradicted one another. However, this time, a joint team of researchers from the National Institutes on Aging and the University of Wisconsin left their past differences aside and set to uncover the truth once and for all.
For the past decades, the two entities published papers that oftentimes contradicted the other one’s view. The latest findings were published on January 17th in the journal Nature Communications. For the study, the researchers analyzed how healthier foods contribute to longevity in monkeys.
The first findings of this kind were published in 2009, 20 years into a study where researchers used rhesus macaques to determine what effect a diet low in calories has on an individual’s longevity. The scientists discovered that reducing the monkeys’ calories intake by 30 percent, the subjects had lower risks of developing fatal diseases like cancer and various heart conditions.
Three years later, however, researchers at the National Institutes on Aging claimed that restricting calories intake has no effect on longevity. However, both teams agreed that the monkeys led healthier lives. While Wisconsin scientists discovered monkeys who consumed fewer calories survived for 28 years, two years longer than the average lifespan of a rhesus macaque, researchers at the National Institutes on Aging found little evidence that such diets can actually play a role in the subject’s longevity.
Nevertheless, NIA’s monkeys also experienced an increase in life expectancy, with some subjects living up to 40 years old. However, while the studies’ differences are still a subject of heated debate, researchers agree that the secret to longevity lies in diet.
“If you feed monkeys a more westernized diet and put them on restriction, you’ll see survival effects, and health benefits”, says lead author of NIA’s study, Julie Mattison.
However, researchers do not necessarily recommend healthy people to start changing their eating habits just yet.
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