Eating all meals before 3pm and nothing in the evening helps weight loss
Studies in worms, flies, rodents, and monkeys have demonstrated that diets that severely restrict total calorie intake, while providing all the essential nutrients, extend average lifespan.
The research shows that in all these organisms, food shortages trigger physiological changes that promote longevity and delay the onset of age-related disease.
Calorie-restricted diets in humans, which involve reducing average calorie intake by around a third, may also extend human lifespan.
Numerous studies have shown that calorie restriction
increases the average lifespan of animals and humans.
Animal studies have revealed that timing of calorie restriction can have an effect due to the circadian system, which controls daily cycles of physiology, metabolism, and behaviors such as eating. This has also been linked to aging.
This led researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX, to investigate whether the timing of meals contributes to the life-extending effects of calorie restriction.
“We have discovered a new facet to caloric restriction that dramatically extends lifespan in our lab animals,” says senior author Dr. Joseph Takahashi, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and chair of neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
“If these findings hold true in people, we might want to rethink whether we really want that midnight snack,” he adds.
The scientists have reported their findings in Science.
Eating late at night interferes with the body’s ability to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
A recent study found this was particularly true for people with a particular variation of the gene for the melatonin receptor.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps to govern the sleep-wake cycle. As its levels increase in the evening, this not only triggers sleepiness but also impairs insulin secretionTrusted Source.
As a result, the body has more difficulty controlling blood sugar levels after meals close to bedtime.