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How time-restricted eating can change your genes
Intermittent fasting has been making news in study after study thanks to countless health benefits, from better blood sugar and liver health to improved muscle mass and longevity.
While this form of eating can involve skipping meals for a day or two at a time, by far the easiest way to embrace intermitted fasting is through time-restricted eating — simply setting a window of time each day within which you eat.
For some, that window might be from 10 am to 6 pm, while others might start and stop eating earlier. There’s no set rule, making it easy to adapt to any lifestyle. And according to a study from Salk Institute, it could be one of the best things you can do for your body.
That’s because the researchers were able to determine that time-restricted eating leads to positive changes across 22 regions of the body and brain and a whopping 70 percent of genes…
Powerful changes at the molecular level
While it’s true that a multitude of past studies have shown the health benefits of time-restricted eating, exactly how it provides those benefits at the molecular level — and how those changes interact across our organs — has not been well understood.
So those Salk scientists set out to fill in that knowledge gap…
To do so, the team fed two groups of mice the same high-calorie diet. While one group had free access to food throughout the day and night, the other was restricted to eating during a nine-hour period each day.
Then, after seven weeks, the scientists collected tissue samples from 22 organ groups and the brain to look for genetic changes.
And in every organ group, the brain included, time-restricted eating was found to produce positive changes in gene expression — the process through which genes are activated and respond to their environment by creating proteins.
“By changing the timing of food, we were able to change the gene expression not just in the gut or in the liver, but also in thousands of genes in the brain,” says Professor Satchidananda Panda, senior author of the study.
All in all, a full 70 percent of genes responded to this easier form of intermittent fasting.
This included nearly 40 percent of genes in the adrenal gland, hypothalamus and pancreas — organs vital for producing important hormones — which could explain how time-restricted eating can help prevent, even reverse, diseases like diabetes.
Overall, the scientists say their findings could have significant implications in the prevention of a wide range of conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries and even cancer.
So it seems that when it comes to better health and better functioning genes, it’s time to focus on when we eat, not just what we eat.
Choose your eating window each day and stick to it. 22 regions of your body, including your brain, will thank you.
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Time-restricted eating reshapes gene expression throughout the body – ScienceDaily