You’ve probably heard that a restricted-calorie diet for mice makes them live longer. Some people have followed their example in the hope that it’s the same for human beings. It’s all to do with the length of particular DNA structures called ‘telomeres’ on the end of the chromosomes.
Be that as it may, it seems that a reduced calorie intake in human beings reduces the risk of heart disease and improves memory in elderly animals including us.
At the University of Münster in Germany, 50 people with an average age of 60, who were overweight but not obese had their short-term memories measured. Then, one third of the group ate 30% fewer calories every day for three months.
After those three months that group scored 20% higher on the short-term memory test than they did before their restricted calorie diet.
This represented an improvement similar to the difference between people under 30 and those above 50.
The other two thirds of the group who carried on eating the same as they always did, showed no change.
Previous studies have shown that lower levels of glucose and insulin in the blood (such as the restricted calorie group) is linked to greater neural function.
It may not help you with your long-term memory and your revision, but it might help you to remember why you just went into the kitchen!