A new study has suggested that restricting fatty food may not lengthen the life span, as was widely believed, but may have a contrary effect, i.e. shortened life.
Researchers at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio's Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, with colleagues at the University of Colorado, studied the effect of food restriction on fat and weight loss in 41 genetically different strains of mice.
The scientists then correlated the amount of fat reduction to life span.
The result showed that mice that maintained their fat actually lived longer. Those that lost fat died earlier.
"Indeed, the greater the fat loss, the greater the likelihood the mice would have a negative response to dietary restriction, i.e., shortened life," said James Nelson, professor of physiology at the Barshop Institute.
"This is contrary to the widely held view that loss of fat is important for the life-extending effect of dietary restriction. It turns the tables a bit," he said.
The researchers, however, cautioned that the new findings could not be directly applied to people until similar studies are done in humans.
People are best advised to adopt a moderate approach, not losing all fat but definitely not keeping unhealthy amounts of fat, either.
The results are expected to be published in the June issue of Aging Cell.