Science & Tech

Scientists have discovered a simple way to stop the ageing process

Scientists have discovered a simple way to stop the ageing process
'The reality is you die young or you get old': Dame Helen …

The feeling of hunger could be a simple way to stop the ageing process, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Michigan tricked fruit flies into feeling hungry which resulted in the insects living longer – even when they eat their calorie intake.

The study - published in Science - suggests that the perception of insatiable hunger alone can generate the anti-aging effects of intermittent fasting.

(And since it’s the perception rather than actual hunger, it means the bugs don’t actually have to starve).

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

"We've sort of divorced [the life extending effects of diet restriction] from all of the nutritional manipulations of the diet that researchers had worked on for many years to say they're not required," physiologist Scott Pletcher said, as per Michigan Medicine.

"The perception of not enough food is sufficient."

Fruit flies were used as part of the experiment iStockphoto by Getty Images

You may have heard the term intermittent fasting before, as it is a popular diet fad that consists of going for extended periods of time without eating, followed by a period of eating normally, according to Bupa.

Despite its popularity, evidence supporting its benefits is limited in terms of research on humans.

Perhaps you’re thinking… why fruit flies? Well, the insects actually share 75 percent of the same disease-related genes as us, while also sharing similar qualities to mammals in terms of their metabolisms and brains, according toScience Alert.

In the research, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) essential nutrients that appear to trigger feelings of fullness in flies when consumed, were used.

The fruit flies maintained their hunger through getting fed snacks low in BCAA and their hunger was noticed through how much the insects ate from a buffet of food hours after eating the snack.

More food was consumed by flies who earlier ate a low-BCAA snack, and they choose protein over carbs, focusing on what their hungry bodies needed.

From learning this, the team directly activated the neurons in fruit flies that trigger hunger responses, they found these hunger-stimulated flies also lived longer.

"Demonstration of the sufficiency of hunger to extend life span reveals that motivational states alone can be deterministic drivers of ageing," Pletcher and colleagues wrote in the findings.

Along with fruit flies, rodents have also been part of the study and both seems to suggest calorie restriction can extend life and is good for our health too.

Though of course, more extensive research is required to see whether or not this is also the case with humans.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)