Valter D. Longo and Satchidananda Panda
Feeding in most animals is confined to a defined period, leaving short periods of fasting that coincide with sleep. Fasting enables organisms to enter alternative metabolic phases, which rely less on glucose and more on ketone body-like carbon sources. Both intermittent and periodic fasting result in benefits ranging from prevention to the enhanced treatment of diseases. Similarly, time-restricted feeding (TRF), in which feeding time is restricted to certain hours of the day, allows the daily fasting period to last >12 h, thus imparting pleiotropic benefits in multiple organisms. Understanding the mechanistic link between nutrients and the fasting benefits is leading to the identification of fasting mimicking diets (FMDs) that achieve changes similar to those caused by fasting. Given the pleiotropic and sustained benefits of TRF and FMD, both basic science and translational research are warranted to develop fasting-associated interventions into effective and inexpensive treatments with the potential to improve healthspan.