Protein: eat less to live longer, but less protein means fewer children
Professor Stephen Simpson of the University of Sydney's School of Biological Sciences (USYD) has said in a statement that: “Animals that eat less live longer - up to a point. Our research using animal models shows the balance of protein to carbohydrate in the diet is critical.”
According to the USYD statement: “The idea that restricting food intake without malnutrition prolongs life has become a core belief in gerontology research”.
In answering the question some might have in their minds as to just how relevant fruit fly studies are to human beings, Professor Simpson said that: "We know dietary restriction extends life in yeasts, fruit flies, worms, mice and monkeys, and it is widely held that the same affect should be true for humans."
There was still one problem: scientists couldn't be sure whether it was the restriction of calories in itself, or the restriction of specific nutrients, that affected ageing (with the statement noting that “Drosophila melanogaster [is] a major animal model used to study ageing”.
But Professor Simpson and colleagues at Seoul University, Auckland University, the University of New South Wales and the Macquarie University have “measured for the first time in any organism the relationship between diet, nutrient intake, lifespan and reproduction”.
So, how did they figure it out, and how did they 'ask' the fruit flies what kind of food they preferred so as to be able to accurately conduct the study - and what does this mean for future studies of ageing in all organisms? The answers are on page 2, please read on!
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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.