LA JOLLA, Calif., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say they've determined when people eat might be just as vital to their health as what they eat.
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies say experiments with mice revealed the daily waxing and waning of genes in the liver is mostly controlled by food intake and not by the body's circadian clock, as conventional wisdom had it.
"If feeding time determines the activity of a large number of genes completely independent of the circadian clock, when you eat and fast each day will have a huge impact on your metabolism," said Assistant Professor Satchidananda Panda, who led the research.
"Our study represents a seminal shift in how we think about circadian cycles," Panda added. "The circadian clock is no longer the sole driver of rhythms in gene function, instead the phase and amplitude of rhythmic gene function in the liver is determined by feeding and fasting periods -- the more defined they are, the more robust the oscillations become."
Panda said he has stopped eating between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. and says he feels great. "I even lost weight, although I eat whatever I want during the day," he said.
The study that included Christopher Vollmers, Luciano DiTacchio, Sandhyarani Pulivarthy, Shubhrox Gill and Hiep Le is to appear in a future issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.