Dietary restriction (DR) increases life span in a wide variety of animals. In Caenorhabditis elegans both reduced bacterial concentration (BDR) and culture on non-bacterial, semi-defined, axenic food sources (ADR) increased longevity. An Ins/IGF-1-like (IIF) signalling pathway has been shown to specify life span in C. elegans and it has been suggested that this IIF signalling pathway mediates life extension via DR. We show that both ADR and BDR act independently with mutations in the IIF pathway to increase longevity, stress resistance, and specific activities of superoxide dismutase and catalase. Moreover, these effects are not dependent on daf-16, which is known to suppress other mutations that act through the IIF pathway. We conclude that DR extends life span by mechanisms distinct from those specified by the IIF pathway.