Energy expenditure of rhesus monkeys subjected to 11 years of dietary restriction

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jan;88(1):16-23. doi: 10.1210/jc.2002-020405.


Dietary restriction (DR) is currently the only paradigm that has consistently extended maximal life span and reduced the onset of age-related chronic diseases in all of the nonprimate species tested. Although it is controversial, some investigators have suggested that the underlying mechanisms may be mediated by adaptations in energy expenditure. We evaluated the extent to which DR alters energy metabolism in a unique cohort of rhesus monkeys submitted to DR for 11 yr. Total energy expenditure (doubly labeled water), resting energy expenditure (REE; indirect calorimetry), and nonbasal energy expenditure (calculated by difference) were measured in DR (n = 12) and control (n = 11) animals. Body composition was determined by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Both fat mass and fat-free mass were lower in the restricted animals (56 and 12%, respectively). DR induced a 17% lower total energy expenditure that was attributable to a 20% decrease in REE without changes in the nonbasal energy expenditure. Adjusted for fat-free mass, REE was 13% lower with DR (-250 kJ/d). Taken together with a reanalysis of previous DR experiments published in humans, rodents, and monkeys, these results suggest that DR may lower REE independent of the DR-induced changes in body composition. Whether this reduction in REE contributes to the life-extending properties of DR warrants further analysis, but it suggests that the long-standing debate regarding DR effects on metabolic rates may derive from the lack of consensus on how to adjust for body size and composition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Rest