August 29, 2012

That semi-starvation diet that was supposed to make you live longer — based on monkey experiments?

After 25 years, the results are in: The starved monkeys didn't live any longer than the unstarved monkeys. Cancer, heart disease — again, no difference. So if you've been straining toward semi-immortality by counting grains of brown rice or whatever... have a sandwich and a good cry.
Then there is Mark Mattson, chief of the laboratory of neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, who was not part of the monkey study. He believes there is merit to caloric restriction, but his routine is to do it intermittently, eating much less, but not every day. It can help the brain, he says, as well as make people healthier and probably make them live longer.

Dr. Mattson, who is 5 foot 9 and weighs 130 pounds, skips breakfast and lunch on weekdays and skips breakfast on weekends.

“I get a little hungry,” he acknowledged. “But we think being hungry is actually good.”
It can help the brain, he says... demonstrating not the most impressive brain.

40 comments:

kentuckyliz said...

Hospice nurses will tell you that at the end of life, fat=time.

kentuckyliz said...

5'9" and 130 lbs?

Sexxxeeeeeee.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Starvation and near-starvation do not usually increase longevity. Neither does excess in the opposite direction. Duh!

Larry J said...

Based on the many conflicting reports over the years, I've come to the conclusion that none of them know what the hell they're talking about. Based on that conclusion, I'm going to enjoy life and eat what I want. What's the point of living longer if you're miserable?

kcom said...

Intermittently - I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

5'9" and 130 lb reminds me of POWs coming back from Asia, either in 1973 or 1945 ... when my 5'11" father weighed 122 lb.

kcom said...

True confession. I was 5'11" and 117 pounds for an extended period of time when I was young. Skinny as a rail? Perhaps. But it was better than when I got sick and went down to 109. :)

paul a'barge said...

I am not a hungry monkey.
Yo no soy chango famelico.

rhhardin said...

Peanut butter is good on brown rice.

CachorroQuente said...

Why does he think that being hungry is actually good? It's certainly not as a result of the "monkey study," which he was not a part of. Too bad he didn't volunteer for the study and save one of the other monkeys from being starved.

PatCA said...

Instapundit is now racing for the fridge. :)

fat=more time or less time, liz?

EDH said...

Those bastards: They made a monkey out of me!

Alex said...

Intermittent fasting is good.

AprilApple said...

I hate the idea of these monkey’s essentially being tortured.
And for what? Nothing.

We are all gonna die. Live with it.

Christy said...

Once upon a time I read that the early mortality studies were based upon insurance data from the early 20th century. Significant because TB was such a scourge that skinny people couldn't get insurance without passing a thorough physical. This meant that the set of skinny insured were all healthy, whereas the set of not-skinny insured included those with conditions that would kill them early. Thus it looked like skinny was best. Just one of the many ways we may fool ourselves with data.

Ann Althouse said...

"5'9" and 130 lb reminds me of POWs coming back from Asia, either in 1973 or 1945 ... when my 5'11" father weighed 122 lb."

My father was in the Army, 5'11" and 122 in 1945, but he was never a prisoner. They always had him in an office job. Maybe because he was so skinny!

Palladian said...

I'm a flea-bit peanut monkey
All my friends are junkies
That's not really true...

Ann Althouse said...

"Then there is Mark Mattson, chief of the laboratory of neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, who was not part of the monkey study."

Every time I read that sentence, I laugh.

n.n said...

Moderation has rarely been in fashion for a minority of the population. It's unfortunate when fanatics are considered "experts" and are granted or perceived with authority, thereby validating their extreme behavior.

BarrySanders20 said...

Start with the premise that all monkeys -- all of them -- are assholes. Gorillas, chimps, and bonobos, too -- all assholes.

Starving monkeys are probably bigger assholes.

BarrySanders20 said...

Start with the premise that all monkeys -- all of them -- are assholes. Gorillas, chimps, and bonobos, too -- all assholes.

Starving monkeys are probably bigger assholes.

edutcher said...

In other words, that extra eclair won't kill you.

PS The Army tries to keep its soldiers lean. so Ann's father wasn't an anomaly.

It's when the guy thinks more about steaks than sex that you know he was a POW.

Carol said...

Obviously the guy still sees semi-starvation as some sort of virtue.

What an ascetic, desiccated ghoul.

sane_voter said...

Maybe the stress of living in a cage in a lab overrides the effect of diet.

Blue@9 said...

I normally skip breakfast, but I make up for it with drinks at dinner.

Sometimes I skip dinner too, but I make up for it with more drinks.

traditionalguy said...

5' 8'' and 130 pounds is a standard issue amateur wrestler weight class. The real wrestlers of the real wrestling are the 130 through 170 lbs weight classes. The rest are for show.

But human brains must consume enormous nourishment hourly, asleep or awake, in the form of fats and glucose...the exact two dietary components the controlling Government Tyrants now demand to see eliminated from our diets.

Penny said...

In the middle of a recession and the grant money that employed people over twenty five years will not be renewed.

Bummer!

Guess everyone got their pink slips?

Penny said...

"Obviously the guy still sees semi-starvation as some sort of virtue."

Seems he takes that on "faith".

Does anyone assume he will discard his "faith" now that the study results are in?

wyo sis said...

As Allie so kindly pointed out a few days ago, when complementing me on my enormous brain power, fat is good for the brain. So fatheads are the really smart ones.

Look around you at the skinny minis, they're all starving their brains.

Chips are falling!

raf said...

5'9" and 130 lb reminds me of POWs coming back from Asia

When I entered the army [mumble] years ago, I was 6'1" and 125#. When I left active duty 4 years later, I was ~135#. That is probably the peak of my physicality.

Slim is not equal to starved.

The Crack Emcee said...

Iif you've been straining toward semi-immortality by counting grains of brown rice or whatever... have a sandwich and a good cry.

BWAAAA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Brilliant, Ann,...

The Crack Emcee said...

And where's that "Crack is right" tag?

Come on - it's time,...

Quaestor said...

A NYTimes reader, Cathy Dawkins, posted this comment:

Simple observation leads me to believe:
1. Genes count
2. What you eat counts. If you eat a lot of processed, sugary trash...not so good. Whole foods...better.
3. How much you eat counts...but only if you eat WAY too much or WAY too little...really, people who get sick and have no health reserves...tend to die.
4. How much you exercise counts, but only to a point ... if you don't get much at all, it's really bad. But getting a whole lot doesn't seem to pay off unless you just enjoy it.
5. Exposure to nasty chemicals counts - a whole lot. Pesticides, herbicides...they'll kill you and make you sick.

This is what I pretty much "know" based on life observations.


A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Rick Lee said...

In my younger days I would occasionally fast for religious reasons. I'd either take a whole day without eating or not eat till sundown... something like that... only about once a month or so. I think it's quite possible it could be good for you and good for the brain. I found it to induce concentration. I haven't done that for a looong time and now I'm 30 lbs overweight.

AllieOop said...

I usually eat once or twice a day. Doesn't make sense to me to eat when one isn't hungry. Metabolism isn't affected negatively by intermittant fasting.

kentuckyliz said...

Religious fasting is awesome for prayer--empty and wide open.

Pat Ca--more time.

DEEBEE said...

But look what it did for my self esteem, while I was sneering at the lazy, fat and (un)happy non dieters.

Mick said...

Well then there's the study that says overweight people are generally less intelligent.

http://www.tempo.com.ph/2012/study-older-fat-people-less-intelligent-than-thin-people/

I guess that could explain the shape of America today.

Of course, Humans don't need to eat 3 squares a day, and one should optimally eat only for the purpose of sustaining. Gluttony is a deadly sin after all. To eat sparingly and well (esthetically and nutritionally is best). Overeating certainly creates more free radicals in the body.

CyndiF said...

Well then there's the study that says overweight people are generally less intelligent.

http://www.tempo.com.ph/2012/study-older-fat-people-less-intelligent-than-thin-people/

I guess that could explain the shape of America today.


Only if you don't understand that correlation =/= causation.

George said...

Once again we find that our ability to affect our general level of health is very limited.