We all know that eating well and exercising frequently can help slow down aging and prevent a wide range of diseases; but a new study from Brigham Young University shows that simply cutting calories can also lead to a longer life. 

The new research was published in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. 

Cutting calories to maintain longevity works on a cellular level, according to researchers. Ribosomes, which make protein in the cells, tend to slow down their production on a lower calorie diet. This gives ribosomes extra time to repair themselves, thus dramatically slowing down the aging process of the entire host organism.

John Price and his team at BYU studied mice for this experiment. As mice are very similar to humans in their make-up and reactions, scientists often use them as the go-to before conducting a similar experiment on human beings.

For Price’s research, he divided the mice into two groups. One was able to eat as much as they wanted whenever they wanted. The other group received 35% fewer calories than the first group. It was found that those who ate fewer calories were proven to live longer than the first group. The mice who did not consume as much were also found to be more active than their counterparts and did not get sick as often.

This is not the first time scientists have found that eating less increases the one’s quality of life in a positive way. Several years ago, a study at Saint Louis University showed that those who skip calorie dense desserts and eat less produce fewer hormones in the body.

And while Price and his BYU team acknowledge St. Louis University’s findings, they also state that their study is the first to connect food quantities to ribosomes and their production of protein.

Price says of his work:

“Food isn’t just material to be burned — it’s a signal that tells our body and cells how to respond. We’re getting down to the mechanisms of aging, which may help us make more educated decisions about what we eat.”

This theory has not been tested out on humans and will therefore need more research. However, if it works in mice, it does seem plausible that it will work for humans as well.

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