Damn. I was all ready to scoff at the latest article on calorie restriction on the MSNBC website. After all, there have been a spate of articles that have examined the practice of eating about a third fewer calories than recommended in order to live a longer life. They hadn’t convinced me that the science supports the theory.

But research is continuing, and, apparently, scientists are pretty close to definitively saying calorie restriction works. Research on animals has been going on for some time, with promising results. And a study last year found that human test subjects who reduced calories also limited oxidative damage in their muscle cells. In the journal PLoS Medicine researchers postulated that the end product might be a longer life.

Additional benefits include better health and less loss of lean muscle. And, of course, more food to go around in this time of shortages.

Researchers stress that CR does not confer immortality on its practitioners. Instead, some note, an optimistic estimate “would be an additional four years or so.”

To me, that seems a paltry number balanced against lifelong hunger pangs and obsessive attention to diet. Still, to each his own, and there are plenty of people out there for whom the rigors of calorie restriction make a whole lot of sense. The research seems to be in their favor.

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