DiAL-Health study aims to determine how time-restricted eating can slow aging and improve 'healthspan'

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January is a time when many people are looking for new diet routines, and intermittent fasting is trending, as are traditional calorie cutting programs.

Research conducted with animal models suggests that intermittent fasting slows aging, and those animals live longer. Researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the University of Alabama at Birmingham are conducting the DiAL-Health study to see if eating for 8 hours and fasting for 16 each day shows similar results in people. These researchers are looking for healthy adults aged 25-49 to participate.

Time-restricted eating has many of the same benefits of a traditional weight-loss diet and may be easier to follow. In the DiAL-Health study, we're obtaining much needed information on time-restricted eating, or intermittent fasting, so we can truly see if it can slow aging and improve 'healthspan.' Healthspan is the length of your life that you are free of diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure."

Dr. Corby Martin, Professor and Director of the Ingestive Behavior, Weight Management and Health Promotion Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical

In addition to Dr. Martin, Dr. Leanne Redman, Professor and Director of Pennington Biomedical's Reproductive Endocrinology and Women's Health Laboratory, and Dr. Courtney Peterson from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, are leading the study in Baton Rouge and Birmingham, Ala.

"Traditional diets, or calorie counting, have been around for hundreds of years, but intermittent fasting has become more popular as an option in recent years as it is likely easier to follow," Dr. Redman said. "In addition to affecting health and possibly longevity, both methods promote weight loss and overall metabolic health, which can help address the nation's obesity epidemic."

This clinical trial opened last year and will continue to recruit in both Baton Rouge and Birmingham, Ala., for the next three to five months. To qualify for the study, participants should have a body mass index between 22-30; and not smoke, vape or use tobacco products currently or within the last 6 months.

Inclusion of people who are healthy weight or somewhat overweight is unique and offers a rare opportunity for healthy individuals to participate in biomedical research. Participants will be compensated up to $2,500 for the completion of the six-month study.

People interested in participating in the Baton Rouge trial should call 225-763-3000, email [email protected], or visit www.pbrc.edu/DialHealth. People interested in participating in the trial in Birmingham should apply here.

"Obesity is one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases nationally," said Dr. John Kirwan, Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical Research Center. "This study is an important contribution to our understanding of how intermittent fasting can help individuals to lose or maintain weight."

This study is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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