Long gaps be­tween meals can boost health, longevity

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Diet -

DO YOU eat food more of­ten? Ac­cord­ing to a study, longer daily fast­ing times or in­creas­ing the du­ra­tion be­tween meals, re­gard­less of calo­rie in­take as well as diet com­po­si­tion, can make men more healthy and help them live longer, com­pared to those who eat more fre­quently, re­searchers say.

In the study, meal-fed and calo­rie-re­stricted male mice showed im­prove­ments in over­all health — com­mon age-re­lated dam­age to the liver and other or­gans – and an ex­tended longevity. The calo­rie-re­stricted mice also showed sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in fast­ing glu­cose and in­sulin lev­els.

“In­creas­ing daily fast­ing times, without a re­duc­tion of calo­ries and re­gard­less of the type of diet con­sumed, re­sulted in over­all im­prove­ments in health and sur­vival in male mice,” said lead au­thor Rafael de Cabo, from the US Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health (NIH).

“Per­haps this ex­tended daily fast­ing pe­riod en­ables re­pair and main­te­nance mech­a­nisms that would be ab­sent in a con­tin­u­ous ex­po­sure to food,” de Cabo added. For the study, pub- lished in the jour­nal Cell Metabolism, the team ran­domly di­vided 292 male mice into two diet groups.

The first group of mice had ac­cess to food round the clock. The se­cond group of mice was fed 30 per cent fewer calo­ries per day than the first group. The third group was meal fed, get­ting a sin­gle meal that added up to the ex­act num­ber of calo­ries as the round-the-clock group.

“This study showed that mice who ate one meal per day, and thus had the long­est fast­ing pe­riod, seemed to have a longer life­span and bet­ter out­comes for com­mon age-re­lated liver dis­ease and meta­bolic dis­or­ders,” said Richard J. Hodes, Di­rec­tor at the NIH.

“These in­trigu­ing re­sults in an an­i­mal model show that the in­ter­play of to­tal caloric in­take and the length of feed­ing and fast­ing pe­ri­ods de­serves a closer look,” he noted. The find­ings may en­cour­age fu­ture stud­ies on how these types of time-re­stricted eat­ing pat­terns might help hu­mans to main­tain healthy weight and re­duce some com­mon age-re­lated meta­bolic dis­or­ders.

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