Consuming low-calorie foods may have a protective effect against certain diseases, because the number of calories that a person directly affects the functioning of different cells, say the researchers.
A study in mice has shown that a low calorie diet can protect the brain from nerve cell death associated with diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and cerebrovascular accident (CVA).
"We are investigating how changes in diet affect metabolism and how it changes the chances of diseases associated with aging" – said co-author Alicia Kowaltowski, a professor at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
For the study, presented at FAPESP Week London, on February 11-13, the research team divided the mice into two groups.
They calculated the average number of calories the group consumed without caloric restriction, and then fed the other group by 40 percent fewer calories.
After 14 weeks, mice belonging to these two groups were given an injection containing a substance known to cause epileptic seizures, nerve cell injury and death.
The researchers found that while people in the group who had no dietary restrictions had confiscations, those whose calories were limited did not.