The aims of this research were (a) to compare food restriction initiated in adult life of male Fischer 344 rats with that limited to early life or involving most of the life span on physical, metabolic, and longevity characteristics and (b) to study a similar level of protein restriction without caloric restriction on these characteristics. Food restriction (60% of the ad libitum intake) initiated at 6 months of age markedly increased life span as did a similar restriction started at 6 weeks of age, but food restriction limited to early life (6 weeks to 6 months of age) and protein restriction caused only a small increase in longevity. Food restriction does not act by reducing the intake of calories or other nutrient per gram of body mass, a finding not in accord with classic views. A progressive decrease in spontaneous locomotive activity with age occurred in ad libitum fed but not restricted rats.
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