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Dangers for Lean People in Cutting Calories

January 22, 2009: 03:53 PM EST
Overweight people may gain benefits from reducing calorie intake, but lean people gain nothing and it may shorten their lives, according to researchers Raj Sohal and Michael Forster. Reducing calories as an anti-aging strategy may be “pointless, frustrating and even dangerous,” says Sohal, professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Pharmacy. Working with Forster, from the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Sohal found that a “fat” strain of mouse benefited from caloric restriction, but lean mice did not. The researchers came to a simple conclusion: Caloric restriction is only useful when an animal eats more than it can burn off. The two researchers found in a 2003 study that caloric restriction begun in older mice actually shortened their life span, suggesting that lean humans should be careful about cutting calories. It is also better for overweight people to skip the double cheeseburger than it is to turn up the treadmill after binging, the researchers say. Over-exercising can cause injuries and long-term wear and tear. Restricting calories worked best in mice that gained weight rapidly in early adulthood, Sohal and Forster found.
"Eating Less May Not Extend Life", Newswise, January 22, 2009, © Newswise
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