Hunger is Good, But Can it be Inherited?
Being skinny–it reduces your chance of developing diabetes, having a heart attack, and getting cancer. It is no surprise that caloric restriction prolongs life. Of course, studying this phenomenon in people is not easy, so Dr. Watabe and his team at the University of Tokyo work on tiny creatures called rotifers (Article).
In controlled experiments, these scientists found that, when fed as much as their hearts could desire (if they had a heart which they don’t), rotifers live for an average of 8.8 days. When allowed to go hungry, they survive for 13.5. But what was amazing is that the offspring of hungry rotifers lived for longer than the offspring of their well-fed counterparts (16.8 days if on a calorie-restricted diet). In other words, the health-benefits of being skinny were passed on to the kids.
Now, rotifers are very different from people. They can reproduce by parthenogenesis (no males needed) and do not enjoy the occasional hamburger. But, it is intriguing to consider that watching your weight may even benefit your unborn children. Pass the carrots!