Studies on mice and rats have demonstrated that calorie restriction (CR) slows primary aging, has a protective effect against secondary aging, and markedly decreases the incidence of malignancies. However, the only way to determine whether CR "works" in humans is to conduct studies on people. Such studies are difficult to perform in free-living people. While research on CR in humans is still at an early stage, a modest amount of information has accumulated. Because it is not feasible to conduct studies of the effects of CR on longevity in humans, surrogate measures have to be used. Preliminary information obtained using this approach provides evidence that CR provides a powerful protective effect against secondary aging in humans. This evidence consists of the finding that risk factors for atherosclerosis and diabetes are markedly reduced in humans on CR. Humans on CR also show some of the same adaptations that are thought to be involved in slowing primary aging in rats and mice. These include a very low level of inflammation as evidenced by low circulating levels of c-reactive protein and TNFalpha, serum triiodothyronine levels at the low end of the normal range, and a more elastic "younger" left ventricle (LV), as evaluated by echo-doppler measures of LV stiffness.