A feeding schedule of prolonged overnight fasting periods extends healthy lifespan in fruit flies by promoting night-time autophagy, a process in which material in cells is degraded and recycled.
Timing is said to be the secret to comedy and to success in life, but it could also be one of the secrets to a longer, healthier life. The quest to extend healthy lifespan has been made seemingly attainable in humans through manipulations of calorie intake, such as caloric restriction. However, restricting calories for more than a short time is difficult because the intense hunger is hard to withstand for most. Manipulations that focus not on the number of ingested calories, but on the timing of ingestion, such as time-restricted feeding (TRF) might be much more sustainable. Writing in Nature, Ulgherait et al.3show that, in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, a TRF schedule that includes prolonged periods of overnight fasting extends healthy lifespan. It does so by promoting an intracellular degradation and recycling process called autophagy, specifically at night4
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