Calorie restriction and longevity: Not all moments are created equal

Eating only during the day and fasting for at least 12 hours a day could be the secret to longevity. Anyway, this is the conclusion of a study in mice, published in Sciencewhich finds that, under certain conditions, the benefits of intermittent fasting increase when food is provided at certain times of the day, even extending the lifespan of rodents by 35%.

Calorie restriction or decreasing daily calorie intake by 30%

Eating less to live longer is the principle of calorie restriction. It’s simply about reducing your daily caloric intake by 30%, without going hungry or malnourished. “It is the most effective non-pharmacological intervention to increase life span.” in the organisms studied, such as mice or even non-human primates, say the researchers in Science. But the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. “Mealtime can also be key.”, raise the researchers. Because most of the studies that deal with caloric restriction are done in rats, which have the particularity of eating immediately the food that is presented to them. In classical protocols, the fast imposed on them was therefore long, at least 22 hours. However, this single administration at a specific time of day can reset certain metabolic signals in the body, set in the circadian rhythm (the 24-hour cycle of a day). The importance of the circadian cycle can already be seen in the simple criterion of weight: mice, nocturnal animals, gain more weight when they eat only during the day.

So finally, to live longer, should we eat little or eat little And at the right time? To separate the true from the false, the researchers divided the mice into five groups. All were under caloric restriction, the only difference being the time of meal(s). The first group ate during the day and night. The second and third ate just one meal, one early in the day and one early in the evening, to enforce a 22-hour fast. As for the last two, they received food regularly, one during the day and the other at night, to induce a 12-hour fast. A sixth group that ate ad libitum served as a control group.

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