Over the last few decades, scientists have discovered that long-term calorie restriction provides a wealth of benefits in animals: lower weight, better blood sugar control, even longer lifespans.
Researchers have largely assumed that reduced food intake drove these benefits by reprogramming metabolism. But a new study led by Dudley Lamming, PhD, associate professor, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, and his graduate student Heidi Pak, finds that reduced calorie intake alone is not enough; fasting is essential for mice to derive full benefit.
The new findings lend support to preliminary evidence that fasting can boost health in people, as trends like intermittent fasting continue to hold sway. These human and animal studies have added to the growing picture of how health is controlled by when and what we eat, not just how much.
The research further emphasizes the complexity of nutrition and metabolism and provides guidance to researchers trying to untangle the true causes of diet-induced health benefits in animals and humans.
The team published their findings on October 18 in Nature Metabolism.