For more than 60 years the only dietary manipulation known to retard aging was caloric restriction, in which a variety of species respond to a reduction in energy intake by demonstrating extended median and maximum life span. More recently, two alternative dietary manipulations have been reported to also extend survival in rodents. Reducing the tryptophan content of the diet extends maximum life span, while lowering the content of sulfhydryl-containing amino acids in the diet by removing cysteine and restricting the concentration of methionine has been shown to extend all parameters of survival, and to maintain blood levels of the important anti-oxidant glutathione. To control for the possible reduction in energy intake in methionine-restricted rats, animals were offered the control diet in the quantity consumed by rats fed the low methionine diet. Such pair-fed animals experienced life span extension, indicating that methionine restriction-related life span extension is not a consequence of reduced energy intake. By feeding the methionine restricted diet to a variety of rat strains we determined that lowered methionine in the diet prolonged life in strains that have differing pathological profiles in aging, indicating that this intervention acts by altering the rate of aging, not by correcting some single defect in a single strain.