Calorie restriction monkeys fed 30% sugar

This just boggles the mind. In an article in Nature, Calorie restriction falters in the long run, we learn that calorie restriction effects on aging in monkeys may not be all that they’ve been cracked up to be. A recent study found no effect of calorie restriction on aging. In an earlier study, a connection was found. Why the difference?

In 2009, another study2, which began in 1989 at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center (WNPRC) in Madison, concluded that caloric restriction did extend life in rhesus monkeys. The investigators found that 13% of the dieting group died from age-related causes, compared with 37% of the control group.

One reason for that difference could be that the WNPRC monkeys were fed an unhealthy diet, which made the calorie-restricted monkeys seem healthier by comparison simply because they ate less of it. The WNPRC monkeys’ diets contained 28.5% sucrose, compared with 3.9% sucrose at the NIA. Meanwhile, the NIA meals included fish oil and antioxidants, whereas the WNPRC meals did not. Rick Weindruch, a gerontologist at the WNPRC who led the study, admits: “Overall, our diet was probably not as healthy.”

I can barely imagine, in a study on longevity, feeding a diet that was almost 30% sugar. Shouldn’t that researcher lose his gerontologist’s license? Or is it just the case that, when the study started, they didn’t even think that that much sugar could be detrimental to the health of monkeys?

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2 comments
dearieme says January 22, 2013

Can you think of any legitimate reason not to feed the two groups diets containing the same foods in the same proportions? Heavens, it even simplifies work in the lab since you only have to attend to differing amounts not differing proportions.

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Mangan says January 22, 2013

Nope, can’t think of any good reason s.

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