While dieting for weight loss has been and still remains a heavily debated subject, dieting for longevity is also a subject that has started to gain traction lately. One recent study reveals that it’s actually easier than we might have thought to prolong our lives and the secret lies in a combination between reducing the intake of calories and eating at the time of day when we are most active.
The study titled “Circadian alignment of early onset caloric restriction promotes longevity in male C57BL/6J mice” was published by Joseph Takahashi, a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Department of Neuroscience at Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, and his colleagues, and it first appeared in the Science journal, at the beginning of May. During the study, Takahashi’s team researched the behavior of mice while on a low-calorie diet that was being fed to them only during their most active hours. Therefore, as mice are nocturnal animals, they were only fed during the night, with meals that ensured a reduced calorie intake.
After studying hundreds of animals on this particular regimen, the results were impressive. It turned out that the combination between the nighttime feeding schedule and the reduced number of calories actually increased the lifespan of the mice by 35 percent, compared to only 10 percent in the case in which the animals were kept only on a low-calorie diet, without taking the feeding time into consideration.
While this study was performed on mice, similar research has been done on other animals as well, and with comparable conclusions. Therefore, by extrapolating the results, applying this combination of calorie restrictions and eating during our most active hours of the day could also help people expand their lifespan. Furthermore, other benefits of such a diet include weight loss, decreased inflammation levels, lower blood pressure and better regulation of blood glucose.
Through this study, the research team has managed to emphasize what an important part metabolism plays in the aging process, and what huge potential lies in better understanding our metabolic mechanisms.
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