The study conducted on male mice observed the relationship between total calorie intake and length of feeding and fasting periods in male mice.
Scientists reported that health and longevity improved with increased fasting time, regardless of what the mice ate or how many calories they consumed.
The study was a collaboration between the US National Institute on Aging (NIA), University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“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 Hodes, NIA director.
“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.”
According to Rafael de Cabo, study lead author, while scientists have studied the beneficial effects of caloric restriction for more than a century, the impact of increased fasting times has recently come under closer scrutiny.
“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,” de Cabo said.
“Perhaps this extended daily fasting period enables repair and maintenance mechanisms that would be absent in a continuous exposure to food.”
de Cabo said the next step for the research include expanding the findings to other strains of mice and other laboratory animal species using both sexes and to find the potential translation of the findings in humans.
The study was published in the Thursday issue of Cell Metabolism.