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The Nature of NutritionA Unifying Framework from Animal Adaptation to Human Obesity$
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Stephen J. Simpson and David Raubenheimer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691145655

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691145655.001.0001

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Less Food, Less Sex, Live Longer?

Less Food, Less Sex, Live Longer?

(p.57) Four Less Food, Less Sex, Live Longer?
The Nature of Nutrition

Stephen J. Simpson

David Raubenheimer

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the relationships between nutrition, life span, and sex. It considers the view that dietary restriction without severe malnutrition prolongs life. It is generally believed that the benefits of dietary restriction arise from eating fewer calories. However, Geometric Framework experiments on insects in which the effects of macronutrients have been separated indicate that, rather than calories, a key determinant of the relationship between diet and longevity is the balance of protein to nonprotein (fat and/or carbohydrate) energy in the diet. Meanwhile, the presumption in much of life history theory that life span and reproduction trade off against each other for limiting resources is shown to be too simplistic. These two life-history variables certainly have differing nutritional optima, but they can be dissociated and do not inevitably trade off. Reproductive senescence and aging may proceed at different rates in males and females, as predicted by sexual selection theory.

Keywords:   nutrition, life span, sex, dietary restriction, malnutrition, life history theory, reproduction, reproductive senescence, aging, sexual selection theory

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