Drop the fad diet and skip the gym – all you need to do to live longer is eat less according to scientist Dr Michael Mosley


For years we’ve been told that a combination of healthy eating and an active lifestyle will keep us in tip-top condition, but BBC science presenter, Dr Michael Mosley, is trying to make us see differently.

He claims that all we have to do to live a longer and healthier life is eat less. That’s it – no weird diets, no hardcore gym sessions, just put less food into your system.

Dr Mosley also dismissed the idea that we need three meals a day saying that ‘what we think of as hunger is mainly habit’. He said that ongoing research shows that a high metabolic rate –the amount of energy the body uses to do normal functions – is a risk factor for early death! This throws in to questions strenuous gym sessions which are often designed to improve the metabolism and burn extra fat.

He believes that people who follow a strict, low calorie diet appear to live longer than the global average. He argues that a diet of 600 calories per day or less is ‘the only thing that’s ever really been shown to prolong life.’

He added: “Ultimately, ageing is a product of a high metabolic rate, which in turn increases the number of free radicals we consume. If you stress the body out by restricting calories or fasting, this seems to cause it to adapt and slow the metabolism down. It’s a version of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Here, Dr Mosley is referring to the free-radical theory of ageing (FRTA) which states that organisms age because cells accumulate dangerous and disruptive molecules called free radicals that cause damage over time. However, not all scientists are in agreement with this theory.  

Cutting your calories from the recommended 2,000 per day to 600 can be considered a form of starvation, which is what makes Dr Mosley’s suggestion so extraordinary.

With most of us spending hours sat at a desk on a daily basis, we need to work on our heart health and muscle tone at the gym. Skipping exercise completely may seem tempting but it’s crucial for maintaining a healthy and capable body. A low calorie diet has the potential to sap your energy, strength and concentration levels, so don’t try it without consulting your doctor first.

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