Dietary restriction (DR) is a robust nongenetic, nonpharmacological intervention that is known to increase active and healthy lifespan in a variety of species. Despite a variety of differences in the protocols and the way DR is carried out in different species, conserved relationships are emerging among multiple species. 2009 saw the field of DR mature with important mechanistic insights from multiple species. A report of lifespan extension in rapamycin-treated mice suggested that the TOR pathway, a conserved mediator of DR in invertebrates, may also be critical to DR effects in mammals. 2009 also saw exciting discoveries related to DR in various organisms including yeast, worms, flies, mice, monkeys and humans. These studies complement each other and together aim to deliver the promise of postponing aging and age-related diseases by revealing the underlying mechanisms of the protective effects of DR. Here, we summarize a few of the reports published in 2009 that we believe provide novel directions and an improved understanding of dietary restriction.