Recent studies have indicated that flies respond to dilute food solutions by compensatory feeding. The existence of compensation mechanisms calls for a reconsideration of the relationships between diet, feeding behaviour and longevity. This study shows that flies fed on liquid diets, sense sucrose and yeast nutrients and adapt to changes in the quantity and presentation of the two nutrients. They have a marked preference for sucrose and regulate their sucrose intake more tightly than their yeast intake. These preferences are not modified as fly age from 1 to 30 days. Compensatory feeding suppresses the beneficial action of dietary restriction on longevity when flies are fed on liquid diets supplemented with yeast extracts. Flies which are given the choice to feed on separate yeast and sucrose food sources were longer lived than flies fed on nutrient mixtures. We conclude that flies sense and respond to specific nutrients and that food presentation is a major factor which determines the sensitivity of flies to dietary restriction. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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