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E. The Benefits of a Calorically-Restricted Diet

Narrator: This is Science Today. Eating three square meals a day is considered the standard practice for a balanced diet and optimal health. But a University of California, Berkeley study has found evidence that less may be more. Researcher Marc Hellerstein demonstrated that lab mice performed better and had less cancer risk on a calorically restricted diet.

Hellerstein: Animals that are calorically restricted are super healthy, they run, they are more active. They are leaner, they have more muscle mass relative to fat, they have better looking coats, their immune system is better, they have a longer reproductive life span. It seems as though they are generally healthier in addition to living longer, than animals that just are allowed to eat all the time.

Narrator: Hellerstein adds that in nature, having access to so much food is not always the norm.

Hellerstein: Animals go through periods where they look for food and when they get a lot of food, they eat they have to then go periods where they don't have food. So, it may be more natural from an evolutionary term to have intermittent periods of food deprivation and then food surplus.

Narrator: Hellerstein's next step is to see how humans fare on a diet in which calories are restricted a few days per week, as opposed to everyday. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.