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Dietary restriction (DR) is the most consistent environmental manipulation to extend lifespan. Originally thought to be caused by a reduction in caloric intake, recent evidence suggests that macronutrient intake underpins the effect of DR. The prevailing evolutionary explanations for the DR response were conceptualised under the caloric restriction paradigm, necessitating reconsideration of how or whether these evolutionary explanations fit this macronutrient perspective. In our opinion, none of the current evolutionary explanations of DR adequately explain the intricacies of observed results; instead we suggest a context-dependent combination of these theories is likely to reflect reality. In reviewing the field, we propose that the ability to track the destination of different macronutrients within the body will be key to establishing the relative roles of the competing theories. Understanding the evolution of the DR response and its ecological relevance is critical to understanding variation in DR responses and their relevance outside laboratory environments.
- geometric framework of nutrition
- resource reallocation
- nutrient recycling
- toxic protein
- adaptive plasticity
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