Calorie restriction has long been known to have anti-aging benefits, but now new research suggests timing can also play a role.
According to the study by researchers at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the timing of meals contributes to the life-extending effects of calorie restriction.
Studying mice, the researchers found that following a calorie-restricted diet, the rodents that only ate during the active phase of their circadian rhythm lived nearly 35% longer than control mice that were allowed to eat whenever they wanted.
Both animals and humans have circadian rhythms, the purpose of which is to control daily cycles of physiology, metabolism, and behaviors like eating. In mice, which are nocturnal, the normal time to eat is at night. The study revealed how eating at other times had a significant impact on lifespan.
“We have discovered a new facet to caloric restriction that dramatically extends lifespan in our lab animals,” says senior author Dr. Joseph Takahashi, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and chair of neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
“If these findings hold true in people, we might want to rethink whether we really want that midnight snack,” he adds.
The study is published in the journal Science.
*image by DanaTentis from Pixabay