Consuming low-calorie foods can have a protective effect on certain diseases, because the number of calories that a person eats directly affects the performance of different cells, the researchers say.
The study in mice showed that a low-calorie diet can protect the brain against neuronal cell death associated with diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy and cerebral vascular accident (CVA).
"We're examining how changes in dietary patterns affect metabolism and how that ultimately reduces the likelihood of developing 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, which took place on 11 and 13 February, the research team divided mice into two groups.
They calculated the average number of calories that the group would eat without calorie restrictions and then gave the other group 40 percent fewer calories.
After 14 weeks, mice belonging to the two groups received an injection with a substance known to cause seizures, damage, and neuronal cell death.
The researchers found that while those in the group who had no dietary restrictions had epileptic seizures, those whose calories were limited did not.
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