HomeHealthCould dieting be this easy?

Could dieting be this easy?

Intermittent fasting has been a trendy weight loss fad for a while now, but Monash University may have discovered an easier alternative that also supports healthy ageing.

Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. In other words, intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat, rather than what you eat.

However, Monash University scientists have identified a less stringent and more manageable alternative to traditional intermittent fasting involving cutting out just one amino acid, offering new possibilities for extending lifespan and promoting healthy ageing.

The research, led by PhD candidate Tahila Fulton from the Monash University School of Biological Sciences and published in GeroScience, found that intermittent, short-term omission of the essential amino acid isoleucine from the diet significantly increases stress resistance and extends lifespan in fruit flies.

No drastic reductions

“Unlike conventional intermittent fasting, this approach does not require drastic reductions in overall food intake, making it a more practical and feasible strategy,” said Ms Fulton.

“Our research not only expands our knowledge of dietary impacts, but also holds the potential to revolutionise how we approach diet and longevity.”

Isoleucine is the oxygen-carrying pigment inside of red blood cells and helps to make haemoglobin. It is also helpful in controlling blood sugar, boosting energy, and improving endurance.

The researchers kept flies for one, two, three or five weeks (of their nine-week lifespan) on a nutritionally complete synthetic diet, at which point they transferred them to a diet lacking isoleucine for one, three, five or seven days, and then measured their survival when exposed to a lethal toxin.

The authors found that subjecting flies to one week of isoleucine deprivation at (three weeks) and later (at five weeks) led to a remarkable increase in lifespan, irrespective of their diet in earlier and later stages of life.

Challenges dieting guidance

“This discovery challenges existing notions about the rigid nature of dietary modifications for longevity and health benefits,” said Ms Fulton.

Basically, Ms Fulton’s team has discovered that instead of wide-ranging food restrictions, deprivation of just one amino acid can have significant health benefits.

“This research not only advances our understanding of dietary impacts on lifespan in fruit flies but also proposes a new, less-invasive pathway for ageing research in other species,” said Ms Fulton.

“The identification of specific amino acid restriction as a viable alternative to intermittent fasting opens doors for more targeted investigations into the mechanisms behind dietary interventions,” she said.

Have you tried intermittent fasting? Why not share your experience in the comments section below? 

Also read: How much weight do you actually need to lose to improve your health

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. What am I missing ?? An article that tells us that weight loss is as easy as removing a specific amino acid out of our diet but doesn’t tell us what foods contian this amino acid. So i looked up this amino acid and all I have to avoid is “meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, lentils, nuts, and seeds.” Hmm Well I suppose thats easy for fruit flies

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