Eating less could help you live longer, a study found.
Experts say slashing calorie intake slows the ageing process and reduces the risk of an early death.
It could even boost your health as much as quitting smoking, The Sun reports.
Researchers at Columbia University in New York looked at age-related damage on the DNA of 145 people after telling them to go on a diet for two years.
They found people who cut calories were in better shape than a group of 75 who ate what they wanted.
“Our findings provide evidence that slowing human ageing may be possible – but calorie restriction is probably not for everyone,” the study’s author, Professor Daniel Belsky, said.
“Effect sizes were small but modest slowing of the pace of ageing can have profound effects on population health.”
People in the study were told to eat 25 per cent fewer calories than they needed each day.
The average person burns 2000 per day if they are a woman or 2500 for a man.
A 25 per cent reduction would cut out 500-600kcal – about equal to a Big Mac’s 493kcal.
The participants lost around 15 per cent of their body weight over the first year of the diet – around 12.7 kgs for the average man.
Blood tests revealed they aged two to three per cent slower than the non-diet group during the study.
And this slashed their risk of dying young by up to 15 per cent, equal to a smoker quitting cigarettes.
Two thirds of Australians are overweight and could boost their health by eating less according to recent findings published in the National Obesity Strategy 2022 – 2032.
Scientists say eating too much overworks the body’s cells and causes them to sustain more damage and age faster.
Obesity can also lead to preventable chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.
It can also impact mental health, as well as social and economic opportunities.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission