Cutting down the amount you eat could help you live up to 18 years longer, a study suggests.

Researchers say having fewer calories in your diet as an adult can lead to a longer and healthier life.

But cutting the amount of food at a younger age is not beneficial.

Experts analysed data from two separate studies involving almost 200 rhesus monkeys.

And they say the results should also apply to humans.

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They found adult monkeys who received 30 per cent less food tended to live up to two years longer for males and almost six years longer in females.

If similar results could be seen in humans, it could extend people’s lives for up to 18 years.

But the researchers said in the real world the effect would likely be less.

Study leader Dr Julie Mattison, from the National Institute on Aging, a division of the US Department of Health, said other aspects of lifestyle would have an impact on how long a person could live.

She added: “The outcomes of these studies are translatable to humans but the information needs to be considered in the context of many things.”

Scientists have been divided over whether restricting calories could have a noticeable impact on human lifespan after studies in monkeys showed contradictory results.

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