Time-restricted feeding improves clock and nutrient sensor functions ?
tRF prevents obesity, diabetes, and liver diseases in mice on a high-fat
diet ? Nutrient type and time of feeding determine liver metabolome and
nutrient homeostasis ? tRF raises bile acid production and energy
expenditure and reduces inflammation
When you eat matters, not just what you eat
When it comes to weight gain, when you eat might be at least as
important as what you eat. That's the conclusion of a study reported in
the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism published early online on May 17th.
When mice on a high-fat diet are restricted to eating for eight
hours per day, they eat just as much as those who can eat around the
clock, yet they are protected against obesity and other metabolic ills,
the new study shows. The discovery suggests that the health consequences
of a poor diet might result in part from a mismatch between our body
clocks and our eating schedules.
"Every organ has a clock," said lead author of the study
Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. That
means there are times that our livers, intestines, muscles, and other
organs will work at peak efficiency and other times when they are—more
Those metabolic cycles are critical for processes from cholesterol
breakdown to glucose production, and they should be primed to turn on
when we eat and back off when we don't, or vice versa. When mice or
people eat frequently throughout the day and night, it can throw off
those normal metabolic cycles.
"When we eat randomly, those genes aren't on completely or off
completely," Panda said. The principle is just like it is with sleep and
waking, he explained. If we don't sleep well at night, we aren't
completely awake during the day, and we work less efficiently as a
To find out whether restricted feeding alone—without a change in
calorie intake—could prevent metabolic disease, Panda's team fed mice
either a standard or high-fat diet with one of two types of food access:
ad lib feeding or restricted access.
The time-restricted mice on a high-fat diet were protected from the
adverse effects of a high-fat diet and showed improvements in their
metabolic and physiological rhythms. They gained less weight and
suffered less liver damage. The mice also had lower levels of
inflammation, among other benefits.
Panda says there is reason to think our eating patterns have changed
in recent years, as many people have greater access to food and reasons
to stay up into the night, even if just to watch TV. And when people
are awake, they tend to snack.
The findings suggest that restricted meal times might be an
underappreciated lifestyle change to help people keep off the pounds. At
the very least, the new evidence suggests that this is a factor in the
obesity epidemic that should be given more careful consideration.
"The focus has been on what people eat," Panda said. "We don't collect data on when people eat.