Humans have a very short fasting period. We eat several times in a 16-hour period, only stopping to sleep for the other eight. Gary L. Wenk, PhD, writing for Psychology Today, points to a study that shows sleep and health may improve if you limit your feeding hours.
Photo by kkmarais.
The study comes from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California and looks at cell metabolism in mice. (While we are talking about mice, here, the researchers do believe the results relate to humans in the same way.) Different groups of mice were given various times in which they were allowed to eat. It turned out that a restricted eating period of 9am to 4pm had the greatest impact:
Mice that had time-restricted access to a high fat diet were significantly healthier than the mice given all-day access to the same diet. They lost body fat, had normal glucose tolerance, reduced serum cholesterol, increased bile acid production, improved motor function and normal sleep cycles. Most surprising, the daily caloric intake of all groups did not differ, regardless of their diet or feeding schedule.
While this is new information and we have yet to see the same tests applied to humans, it does begin to back up some common knowledge: don't eat late. In fact, a while back we suggested a way of eating healthy that's not too far off from the results of this study: stack the heavy meals in the morning and finish light at night.
Eat Early to Stay Healthy and Sleep Better [Psychology Today]