Story of the Lab Mice

Story of the Lab Mice


Mice are used to study so many different health concerns. Perhaps my favorite lab mouse study, and perhaps my only favorite lab mouse study, involved nutrition. In the study mice were divided into three groups. Group one were the decadent mice. They were fed as much of anything they desired, and became the “fat” mice.

The second group were fed the ideal diet complete with the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats as well as vitamins and minerals. They were exercised regularly to keep them fit. These were the “muscular” mice.

Group three were the “skinny” mice. These mice were kept on the brink of starvation. You could see the tiny rib bones protruding through the skin. They were constantly hungry and undernourished. These were the unlucky mice; or were they?

As it turned out, much to the researchers’ surprise, the skinny malnourished mice outlived the two groups by a significant margin. Even the muscular mice couldn’t match the skinny mice in longevity.

So you might ask whether this study of mice actually applies to humans. Good question. I’m not aware of any study involving humans in similar groups. Can you imagine participating in a long term study where you were starved each and every day? I might sign up for the decadent or muscular group, but certainly not the malnourished group!

This leads me to a comment once made by a researcher patient of mine. He said, “Did you ever notice that on the street you see fat people. You see old people. But you never see old, fat people?” So I go to the gym each day to keep my weight under pseudo control and I’m working on the under eating part!

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