Now, however, the scientists from both teams have reviewed their work and a third study, using fewer calorie-restricted monkeys, to determine that young animals may have skewed the previous result.
Professor Anderson said: “The low-calorie intake diet worked in the rhesus monkeys in their teens and twenties, but not in monkeys started on the diet early in the pre-teen years. This shows it may be better for people too if started in later life.”
The research team conclude that eating less, in the case of the Wisconsin study between the hours of 8am and 5pm only, increases survival. It does this by preventing the killer diseases which strike people when they get older, and which are shared by monkeys, such as cancer and dementia.
The reasons why are not yet fully understood, with one theory being that eating less may send the body into survival mode so that it focuses on protecting itself.