Study: Eating fewer calories could prevent disease, cancer

Reducing your caloric intake could have some major health benefits, among them preventing Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

That's according to research led by Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore.

Eating fewer calories with alternate day fasting has increased the lifespan in some lab animals. But it remains unclear whether so-called caloric restriction can make people live longer.

But there's enough evidence to convince scientists to further explore the potential benefits of eating fewer calories. The reduction could possibly be used to treat conditions including stroke, diabetes, spinal cord injury, asthma and cardiovascular disease.

Mattson recently discussed his work on caloric restriction at the American Association of the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Vancouver.

"Dietary energy restriction extends lifespan and protects the brain and cardiovascular system against age-related disease," Mattson said in the Daily Mail .

Mattson, who's also a professor of neuroscience at John Hopkins University, practices caloric restriction but said he would currently recommend the practice only to people who are overweight or obese. He said more research is needed before the practice can be recommended for people who are lean.

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