Cutting calories by 25% could slow ageing, study claims

Put that pizza down… and step away from the burger. Switching to a low calorie diet could take years off you – and have as much impact on your health as quitting smoking.

A two-year trial in the US with 220 healthy people showed those asked to cut their calories by 25 per cent slowed their pace of ageing by two to three per cent.

Over a lifetime that could drop their mortality risk by ten to 15 per cent – the same improvement enjoyed by people ditching cigarettes.

Study co-leader Dr Calen Ryan said: ‘Our findings are important because they provide evidence from a randomised trial that slowing human ageing may be possible. But calorie restriction is probably not for everyone.

‘So this gives us a sense of effects we might look for in trials of interventions that could appeal to more people, like intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating.’

The team, from Butler Columbia center in New York, measured trialists’ ageing rate by testing DNA from their white blood cells after 12 and 24 months, using an algorithm called DunedinPACE.

The new biomarker test checks the rate of ageing, rather than just the age of those sampled. Results were in US online journal Nature Aging.

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