Dog eat less, live longer

Researchers at Imperial College London have studied the effects of dietary restriction on dog's life and discovered that changes in the chemical balance of microbial populations in the animals' gut could indicate why reducing calorific intake results in a longer life. Jeremy Nicholson and colleagues followed 12 "pairs" of dogs in which one partner in each pair was given 25% less food than the other. They found that the dogs who had less food lived almost 2 years longer and suffered less diabetes, less osteoarthritis, and were older when common late-onset diseases arose. The scientists suspect that microbial population of the dogs' guts could explain the metabolic differences. Those dogs on an unrestricted diet had higher levels of aliphatic amines in their urine, which are linked to reduced levels of fat-busting choline. A similar profile has been associated elsewhere with insulin resistance and obesity.