Eating primarily during the day instead of at night could be the key to a longer life, new research reveals. Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center say it’s not just what you consume, but when.
Their study finds that cutting down on fatty and sugary foods and having meals at the right time increased the longevity of mice by 35 percent. Experiments found the body clock’s daily rhythms play a big part in the benefits of a healthy diet. Rodents are nocturnal animals that are most active in the dark. Meanwhile, humans are generally livelier during the day. With that in mind, study authors say people should restrict their dining to the most active hours of the day.
In lab animals tracked over four years, a reduced-calorie diet alone extended survival by 10 percent. However, the improvement increased significantly with an exclusive nighttime feeding schedule. The combination tacked on an extra nine months to their typical two-year average lifespan.
Lead author Professor Joseph Takahashi says a similar plan for people would restrict eating to the daytime hours. Eating less is known to boost health. Studies on a variety of animals have shown it can lead to a longer, healthier life. The latest findings add to the evidence that having a hearty breakfast or lunch instead of dinner is also key — at least for humans.