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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1999 Jan;54(1):B5-11; discussion B12-3.

Long-term calorie restriction reduces energy expenditure in aging monkeys.

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  • 1Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.


Calorie restriction to produce stable long-term adult body weight for approximately 10 years prevents obesity and diabetes in middle-aged rhesus monkeys. To determine whether this dietary regimen also alters energy metabolism, the doubly labeled water method was used to measure total daily energy expenditure. Six adult male rhesus monkeys, which had been calorie-restricted for more than 10 years, were compared to 8 control adult monkeys, which had been fed ad libitum for their entire lives. The calorie-restricted monkeys weighed less than the ad-libitum fed monkeys and had a lower lean body mass and lower fat mass. Total daily energy expenditure was lower in the calorie-restricted than in the ad-libitum fed monkeys, even when corrected for differences in body size using body weight (563 +/- 64 vs 780 +/- 53 kcal/d; p < .04), surface area (547 +/- 67 vs 793 +/- 56 kcal/d; p < .05), or lean body mass (535 +/- 66 vs 801 +/- 54 kcal/d; p < .02) as covariates. Thyroxine (T4) was reduced and the free thyroxine index was suggestively lower in the calorie-restricted monkeys whereas triiodothyronine (T3) was not significantly different. Activity in calorie-restricted monkeys was similar to that of a weight-matched younger adult comparison group. We conclude that the process of preventing obesity by long-term caloric restriction causes a significant and sustained long-term reduction in energy expenditure, even when corrected for lean body mass.

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