eating-less-foodEating less calories may help people extend their lifespan by promoting growth of beneficial bacteria in the body, a new Chinese study claimed today.

In a research conducted on two sets of mice, it was found that the group fed with calorie-restricted low-fat diet lived the longest while those eating high fat food had the shortest lives, a report in the state-run China Daily said.

Analysis of the mice feces showed that some beneficial bacteria that correlate positively with a longer life span are enriched by calorie restriction.

“Scientific research has been pointing to the result that calorie restriction increases life span, but the unanswered questions are why and how,” said Zhao Liping, a Microbiology professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, who led the research.”So this research provides a new angle to explain the relationship between calorie restriction and life span that calorie restriction might take effect via altering gut bacteria,” he said.

“Although we find an association exists between calorie intake and gut bacteria, and bacteria and life span, this is definitely not the only decisive factor for life span,” Zhao was quoted as saying.

Another researcher involved in the study, Liu Yong from the Institute of Nutritional Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said it would be some time before the results could be applied to humans too.

However, he pointed out earlier research has shown the influence of gut bacteria on people’s health. “The human body is a supraorganism (an organism consisting of many organisms). There are enormous numbers of microbial communities that influence people’s health,” Liu said.

“For example, a lot of research points to the fact that unhealthy gut bacteria plays a role in causing obesity and metabolic disorders, including diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and some cardiovascular disease,” he added.