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Study Finds Calorie Restriction Slows Biological Aging in Humans

Research has shown that calorie restriction can slow the rate of biological aging in humans. In a recent study, researchers tested the effects of calorie restriction on 220 healthy, non-obese men and women in the United States. Participants were either put on a 25-percent calorie restricted diet or a normal diet for two years.[0] The findings, published in Nature Ageing, revealed that the calorie restriction intervention slowed the pace of aging by 2-3%.

To measure the effects of the intervention, researchers used two epigenetic clocks – PhenoAge and GrimAge – and a new tool called DunedinPACE.[1] The clocks are measurements of DNA methylation data, which estimate biological age and can gauge how much aging has occurred in the body.[2] DunedinPACE is an indicator of how fast biological aging occurs, similar to a “speedometer.”[2]

The team found that the intervention had no significant effects on other epigenetic clocks, but did cause a 2-3% slowing of the aging process and a 10-15% decrease in mortality risk, similar to that of a smoking cessation intervention.[3] A follow-up of trial participants is now ongoing to determine if the intervention had long-term effects on healthy aging.

Calorie restriction has its limitations. It is not the same as skipping meals or extreme diets that eliminate entire food groups.[2] Rather than being an abrupt decrease in calories, it is a gradual and regulated decrease, usually accompanied by an assorted diet which encompasses all the necessary nutrients for the body.[2] Some people on calorie-restricted diets have reported side effects in the past, such as a loss of bone density, muscle mass and aerobic capacity.

These findings are important because they provide evidence from a randomized trial that slowing human aging may be possible.[1] However, the performance of the DunedinPACE test was “mediocre at best”, according to critics, finding only a weak association with biological aging.[4] Further research is needed to determine if the short-term effects observed during the trial will translate into long-term reductions in aging-related chronic diseases and their risk factors.

0. “Low-calorie diets slow down the aging process as much as quitting smoking” Study Finds, 9 Feb. 2023,

1. “Eat less to live longer, study says, but are the tools measuring longevity accurate?”, 10 Feb. 2023,

2. “Restricting Calories May Slow the Aging Process, Study Finds | HealthNews”, 9 Feb. 2023,

3. “Calorie restriction makes it possible to slow down aging”, 9 Feb. 2023,

4. “Eat less to live longer, study says, but are the tools measuring longevity accurate?” KTVZ, 10 Feb. 2023,

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