Health problems associated with disruptions to animals' 24-hour rhythms of activity and rest which in humans is linked to eating for most of the day or doing shift work can be corrected by eating all calories within a 10-hour window. Restricting food intake to 10 hours a day, and fasting the rest, can lead to better health, regardless of our biological clock
Scientists at the Salk Institute found that mice lacking the biological clocks thought to be necessary for a healthy metabolism could still be protected against obesity and metabolic diseases by having their daily access to food restricted to a 10-hour window.
According to the researchers, the new work suggests that the primary role of circadian clocks may be to tell the animal when to eat and when to stay away from food. This internal timing strikes a balance between sufficient nutrition during the fed state and necessary repair or rejuvenation during fasting. When this circadian clock is disrupted, as when humans do shift work, or when it is compromised due to genetic defects, the balance between nutrition and rejuvenation breaks down and diseases set in.
As we age, our circadian clocks weaken. This age-dependent deterioration of circadian clock parallels our increased risk for metabolic diseases, heart diseases, cancer and dementia. A simple lifestyle such as eating all food within 10 hours can restore balance, stave off metabolic diseases and maintain health.