Can cutting calories and eating at the right time of the day lead to a longer life? Some health experts think so. While it has been well known that how much you eat can impact your overall longevity, new research is indicating that when you take in your calories can also affect your lifespan. This revelation highlights the importance of eating in a way that is in sync with your body’s natural circadian rhythms.
Here is what you need to know about timing your meals to boost your expected life span.
Is When You Eat the Key to a Longer Life?
It is not surprising to learn that what you put into your body has a direct impact on your lifespan. However, what may come as a surprise to many is that when you eat may also play a role in your life expectancy.
A recent study published in the journal Science explored this idea further. The team of researchers looks at hundreds of mice over a period of four years. What they found is that a reduced-calorie diet alone translated to an extended lifespan of 10 percent. However, the mice that ate only at night, when these creatures are typically more active, enjoyed an extended life expectancy of 35 percent. In short, the partnership of a reduced-calorie diet and a nighttime eating schedule (the equivalent of eating during the day for humans) added an extra nine months to the lifespan of the mice.
This could partially explain why night shift workers tend to experience shorter lifespans. Some experts hypothesize that eating at night while working that late shift increases blood sugar levels as a result of the beta cells in the pancreas not being ready to work as nature intended. Because these beta cells are responsible for producing insulin, blood sugar levels will naturally rise after eating.
In addition, some people may not be able to deal with food ingestion as efficiently during the nighttime hours. This circadian misalignment can cause all of the internal clocks in the body to become out of whack, creating a host of metabolic disruptions. The resulting metabolic misalignment is responsible for the onset of a number of health conditions that can impact lifespan.
Although cutting calories and eating at the right time can be a challenge when working a night shift, encouraging your dining habits to remain in sync with the body’s internal clock can go a long way in keeping blood sugar levels in check.
Tips on Cutting Calories and Eating at the Right Time
In order to increase your lifespan, it is now becoming clear that when you eat may be as important as what you eat. By intentionally aligning mealtimes with the body’s internal circadian rhythms, you will lower your risks of developing a number of health issues. This reduction in health risks will improve the odds that you live a longer life.
In addition to paying attention to the timing of your meals to encourage a long life, be sure to also fuel your body with nutritious foods that support this goal. Here are a few tips to follow to ensure that you are nourishing your body in a way that promotes a long and healthy life.
Be Mindful of Eating Habits
It is easy to consume hundreds of extra calories each day and not even realize it. That cookie you grabbed from the break room? The leftovers you ate off of your child’s plate? All of those extra calories can add up, particularly when it comes to mindless eating. Tracking your eating throughout the day can be an eye-opening exercise for some individuals.
It is easier than ever to track your calories through the use of targeted apps. Doing so will keep you honest about what you put in your mouth and help you to design an eating plan that aligns with your health goals.
Go Meatless for One Meal Per Day
Going meatless for at least one meal per day is one of the easiest ways to cut calories from your diet. For example, be purposeful about using whole grains as the base of your meal while eschewing the meat. Most people find it easiest to do this with breakfast or lunch.
Watch Sugar Intake
Sugar can be a real diet killer. It is not unusual to take in way too much sugar during the first meal of the day. You can blame sugary cereals, yogurts, processed smoothies and juices and pastries for this bad habit. Being mindful about the amount of sugar that you eat during breakfast will help to get your day off to a great start nutritionally.
Focus on Foods You Love
Aside from cutting calories and eating at the right time of day, the key to eating healthy consistently is to focus on finding nutritious foods that you truly enjoy. Once you narrow down the healthy foods that you want to consume with consistency, you can make incorporating these into your regular diet a habit.
By being intentional about cutting calories and eating at the right time, you will set yourself up for a long and healthy life.