Health Buzz: Low-Calorie Diets Don't Help Monkeys Live Longer

How to forgive and why you should; weighing yourself the right way

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Severe Calorie Restriction in Monkeys Does Not Lead to Longer Lives, Study Says

A long-awaited study reveals that monkeys kept on a severe, low-calorie diet don't outlive well-nourished monkeys. The National Institute on Aging study was published yesterday in the online journal Nature, but the experiment began in 1987 to determine whether under-eating could increase monkey, and perhaps human, lifespan. A group of rhesus monkeys who consumed 30 percent fewer calories than a control group did not live any longer—a conclusion that the New York Times reports "surprised and disappointed" the lead author of the study, Rafael de Cabo. While the study did show that male monkeys who began the restricted diet at older ages had lower cholesterol and sugar levels, overall, the underfed monkeys and nourished monkeys shared the same causes of death: cancer and heart disease.

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  • How to Forgive, and Why You Should

    The deepest wounds feel like they'll last a lifetime: The absent mother who robbed you of the mother-daughter bond you craved and deserved. The eighth-grade bully who turned the classroom into a living nightmare. The boyfriend who broke his promises and chose her instead.

    You feel bitter. You still hold a grudge. But clinging to those betrayals and disappointments, that hurt, is bad for the body and mind. "It's inevitable that we'll all be hurt by others, and that it will happen often," says clinical psychologist Ryan Howes, who's based in Pasadena, Calif. "People have accidents, make mistakes, behave selfishly, and even intentionally try to hurt one another. We can't escape it. Forgiveness is a vulnerable act that can feel like it opens us up to more pain. But we need to have a way to process and let go of the effects of injury, or we risk serious physical and emotional consequences."

    Indeed, experts say that forgiving those who have wronged us helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart rate. One study found that forgiveness is associated with improved sleep quality, which has a strong effect on health. And Duke University researchers report a strong correlation between forgiveness and strengthened immunity among HIV-positive patients. The benefits aren't just limited to the physical, either: Letting go of old grudges reduces levels of depression, anxiety, and anger. People who forgive tend to have better relationships, feel happier and more optimistic, and overall, enjoy better psychological well-being. [Read more: How to Forgive, and Why You Should]

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    • Beware the Scale: Learn the Right Way to Weigh

      When trying to follow a weight-loss plan, the scale can be your worst enemy. It's a tricky device in tracking weight loss. Some dieters go so far as to step on the scale after every meal. This poses a problem, because weight tends to fluctuate, on average, between 2 to 4 pounds throughout the day. The number that you see first thing in the morning may be far from the number you see midday or before your head hits the pillow. However, this doesn't mean that you've actually gained body fat. These numbers don't reflect your accurate weight or your last meal.

      Throughout my years of counseling clients, I've seen people who struggle to lose weight all of a sudden lose five pounds in a matter of days, writes U.S. News blogger Heather Bauer. On the other hand, some experience the opposite; starting off strong and then weight loss tapers off. Constantly stepping on the scale and seeing varied outcomes can result in feelings of discouragement, disappointment, and resentment. This trio of negative emotions can lead to binge eating. After all, you've been working hard all day to eat well, and all of a sudden your number skyrockets by 2 pounds in less than three hours with no explanation. It's understandable that the average person would feel frustrated and turn to a bag of chips or box of cookies for solace. Therefore, it's important to understand the many factors that play into weight fluctuation. [Read more: Beware the Scale: Learn the Right Way to Weigh]