The idea of extending life expectancy by modifying diet originated in the mid-20th century when the effects of caloric restriction were found. It was first demonstrated on rats and then confirmed on other model organisms. Fasting activists like Paul Bragg or Roy Walford attempted to show in practice that caloric restriction also helps to prolong life in humans.
For a long time the crucial question in this research concerned finding a molecular mechanism that demonstrated how caloric restriction might promote longevity. The discovery of such a mechanism is possible with very simple organisms whose genetics were well understood and whose genes could be switched on or off. For example, the budding yeast, nematodes and fruit flies are windows into the complicated genetics of longevity. Several discoveries have been made in recent years, including resveratrol, sirtuins, insulin growth factor, methuselahgene, Indy mutation.
The effects of caloric…
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