Purpose of review: The role of calorie restriction in humans is controversial. Recently, new data in monkeys and humans have provided new insights into the potential role of calorie restriction in longevity.
Recent findings: A study in rhesus monkeys showed a reduction in aging-associated mortality. A number of controlled studies have suggested a variety of beneficial effects during studies of 6-12 months in humans. Major negative effects in humans were loss of muscle mass, muscle strength and loss of bone.
Summary: Dietary restriction in rodents has not been shown to be effective when started in older rodents. Weight loss in humans over 60 years of age is associated with increased mortality, hip fracture and increased institutionalization. Calorie restriction in older persons should be considered experimental and potentially dangerous. Exercise at present appears to be a preferable treatment for older persons.