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The secret to slowing down aging may be intermittent fasting

Some recent advances in the world of aging have centered around intermittent fasting, a dietary strategy that alternates between periods of eating and fasting. Preliminary research has indicated that intermittent fasting not only promotes weight loss, but also has the potential to delay aging.

Weight loss

While most people are probably familiar with intermittent fasting as a weight loss tool, exciting discoveries in animal studies have shown its potential in slowing down the aging process, thus enhancing longevity. 

This is a welcome departure from traditional calorie restriction methods, which involve meticulously counting every calorie consumed to ensure weight loss.

DiAL-Health study

In light of these revelations, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has embarked on a groundbreaking study named DiAL-Health

The primary focus of this research is to investigate the effects of an 8-hour eating window followed by a 16-hour fasting period and its possible benefits on human aging.

Extending the healthspan 

The study’s demographic is quite interesting – targeting healthy adults aged between 25 and 49, spanning both healthy weight and slightly heavier categories. 

By investigating these two distinct eating plans, the researchers intend to gain insights into whether intermittent fasting or calorie restriction has the potential to prolong the “healthspan.” This refers to the duration of life one remains free from chronic ailments such as diabetes or hypertension.

Growing optimism

Three distinguished researchers are leading this study: Dr. Corby Martin at Pennington Biomedical; Dr. Leanne Redman, also from Pennington Biomedical; and Dr. Courtney Peterson from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“We have known for almost a hundred years that eating less extends an animal’s healthspan and lifespan,” said Dr. Martin. “While this method can slow aging in humans, it’s not always the most feasible. Given recent discoveries about intermittent fasting’s effects on animals, there’s growing optimism about its potential in humans.”

The study will incorporate technological innovation to help keep the participants on track. As Dr. Redman highlighted, the research will use “newly developed smartphone apps to aid participants in adhering to the program, all the while requiring minimal assistance from health coaches.”

Combating the obesity crisis

Beyond the potential longevity benefits, both dietary strategies – intermittent fasting and calorie restriction – have shown promise in combating the obesity crisis, which has grown to epidemic proportions in many parts of the nation.

The unique inclusion of both healthy and heavier participants provides an invaluable opportunity for a wider demographic to partake in this significant biomedical research.

Dr. John Kirwan, the Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical Research Center, commented on the overarching implications of this research. He said, “Obesity is one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases nationally. This study is poised to contribute immensely to our comprehension of how intermittent fasting can be a beacon of hope in the battle against obesity.”

How to participate in the study

Those in Baton Rouge or Birmingham, Alabama who meet the study’s criteria, including a body mass index ranging from 22-30 and a non-smoking history for at least the past six months, are welcomed to participate. 

The researchers will generously compensate all participants for their efforts. They receive up to $2,500 upon the study’s completion.

If you are interested, reach out to 225-763-3000 or via email at More details can be found at

Health benefits of intermittent fasting 

Intermittent fasting (IF) refers to dietary patterns where individuals cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It doesn’t prescribe specific foods but simply focuses on when you should eat. Here are some health benefits of intermittent fasting:

Weight loss 

Fasting reduces calorie intake, which can lead to weight loss. IF can also increase metabolic rate in the short term.

Insulin sensitivity

Intermittent fasting can help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, potentially reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Heart health

Intermittent fasting may benefit heart health by improving various risk factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and inflammatory markers.

Brain health

Fasting boosts the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which aids brain function and reduces the risk of neurological diseases.

Cellular repair 

During fasting, cells initiate autophagy, where they remove damaged components. This process is protective against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.


Animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting might decrease the risk of cancer. However, human data is limited and further research is needed.

Inflammation reduction: Some studies have shown that IF can reduce markers of inflammation. This is a key driver of many chronic diseases.

Improved digestion 

Intermittent fasting may allow the gut to rest and can potentially aid in digestion for some individuals.

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