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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Nov 25;111(47):16647-53. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1413965111. Epub 2014 Nov 17.

Meal frequency and timing in health and disease.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Neurosciences, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD 21224; Department of Neuroscience, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205; mark.mattson@nih.gov panda@salk.edu.
2
Nutrition and Obesity Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294;
3
Department of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130; Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Brescia University, 25123 Brescia, Italy; CEINGE Biotecnologie Avanzate, 80145 Naples, Italy;
4
Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre, University Hospital South Manchester, Wythenshaw, M23 9LT Manchester, United Kingdom;
5
Longevity Institute, Davis School of Gerontology and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089;
6
Laboratory of Experimental Hormonology, Brussels Free University, B-1070 Brussels, Belgium;
7
British Broadcasting Corporation, W1A 1AA London, United Kingdom;
8
Department of Neuroscience, College of Medicine, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610;
9
Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70808;
10
Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115;
11
Biology Department, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467;
12
Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612; and.
13
Regulatory Biology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037 mark.mattson@nih.gov panda@salk.edu.

Abstract

Although major research efforts have focused on how specific components of foodstuffs affect health, relatively little is known about a more fundamental aspect of diet, the frequency and circadian timing of meals, and potential benefits of intermittent periods with no or very low energy intakes. The most common eating pattern in modern societies, three meals plus snacks every day, is abnormal from an evolutionary perspective. Emerging findings from studies of animal models and human subjects suggest that intermittent energy restriction periods of as little as 16 h can improve health indicators and counteract disease processes. The mechanisms involve a metabolic shift to fat metabolism and ketone production, and stimulation of adaptive cellular stress responses that prevent and repair molecular damage. As data on the optimal frequency and timing of meals crystalizes, it will be critical to develop strategies to incorporate those eating patterns into health care policy and practice, and the lifestyles of the population.

KEYWORDS:

circadian rhythm; feeding behavior; metabolism; obesity; time-restricted feeding

PMID:
25404320
PMCID:
PMC4250148
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1413965111
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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