In a recent study undertaken by scientists from the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Aging, researchers found the secret to longevity is linked with meal times.

The researchers separated 292 male mice into two groups and gave them different diets. They also examined how altering the meal times affected the life expectancy of the mice. At the end of the study period, the scientists found the results to be very impressive and concluded that the same might be true for humans. happy man longevity happy man longevity Photo: rottonara - Pixabay

They said the findings provided a beacon of hope for future studies and at the same time, suggested a particular diet to help improve longevity. This study, which was participated in part by scientists from the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, analyzed how longer fasting times could boost health and longevity. Researchers noted that increasing the time between meals improved the overall health of the male mice. They also lived longer compared to the other group who were fed and ate more frequently.

The scientists also report that health and life span greatly improved with increased fasting times, notwithstanding the type of food the mice ate or how many calories the food contained. Dr. Richard J. Hodes, a director at the NIA, said that the study revealed that the group of mice that consumed only one meal daily appears to enjoy a longer lifespan. They also seem to have better outcomes for age-related ailments like liver disease and a number of metabolic disorders.

He also said that the fascinating results using lab mice as the model which revealed the relationship of fasting and feeding time length and total caloric intake deserve a closer examination.

Dr. Rafael de Cabo, the study’s lead author and Translational Gerontology Branch chief of the NIA Intramural Research Program, said increasing daily fasting times improved the overall health of male mice. He also said that their survival chances in a number of age-related ailments also increased. These positive results occurred regardless of the caloric intake and the type of diet the mice have. 

The lead author hypothesized that the extended fasting period might have enabled the maintenance and repair mechanisms of the mice’s bodies to kick into place. Such a process would have been absent had the mice ate food continuously. Researchers of the study also revealed the results seem to suggest that those who are able to fast at least once a month may enjoy a longer and healthier life.