·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Health & Medicine

Fasting Study Focuses on Slowing Aging Process, Improving Healthspan

— February 22, 2024

The DiAL-Health study hopes to show that intermittent fasting not only aids in weight loss, but has additional benefits.

There is an obesity epidemic in the United States, and as of late, this has led to many individuals seeking prescription weight loss options, including diabetic drugs such as Wegovy and Ozempic. In turn, those with diabetes are now experiencing a shortage of the drugs they need to control symptoms. Unfortunately, this ongoing battle to meet demand and ensure there are enough prescriptions to go around is not likely to come to a halt any time soon. Luckily, there are still other, more natural ways to combat obesity. So, if there is a drug supply shortage or an individual wants to embark on a weight loss journey but doesn’t want to take medication while improving their health, there are other ways to achieve success. Of course, diet and exercise are a big part of that.

There have been many fad diets over the years that have all claimed to be the best way for individuals to lose weight while improving overall wellness. Many of these have fallen by the wayside fairly quickly, but a few have had staying power. One of these is intermittent fasting. Essentially, if someone chooses to follow this diet, they will maximize results by limiting food intake only to certain windows of time and refrain from eating during others.

Research has shown that intermittent fasting is not only beneficial for weight loss, but it comes with the added advantage of slowing down the aging process. To date, most studies have been performed on animals. However, researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the University of Alabama at Birmingham are now conducting the DiAL-Health study, examining the effects of eating for 8 hours and fasting for 16 each day on humans. Thus far, the findings are similar.

Fasting Study Focuses on Slowing Aging Process, Improving Healthspan
Photo by Andres Ayrton from Pexels

“Time-restricted eating has many of the same benefits of a traditional weight loss diet and may be easier to follow,” said Dr. Corby Martin, Professor and Director of the Ingestive Behavior, Weight Management and Health Promotion Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical. “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.”

His teammate Dr. Leanne Redman, Professor and Director of Pennington Biomedical’s Reproductive Endocrinology and Women’s Health Laboratory, added, “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. 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.”

The DiAL-Health study is still recruiting adult non-smokers ages 25-49 and with a body mass index (BMI) of 22-30 to participate. Researchers are looking for individuals focused on improving their health in the Baton Rouge and Birmingham, Alabama, area who are willing to be involved for three to five months, receiving up to $2500 for their time.

Continuing to examine the health-related benefits of diet and exercise will allow researchers to share much-needed information with the public that will be useful in improving wellness. In turn, the hope is that many individuals who are looking to improve their well-being will consider going this route rather than taking prescription drugs away from those with chronic conditions who need them the most. By opting to partake in intermittent fasting, they will, in turn, fend off health complications that come with age.


Healthy Adults Needed for an Exciting Study to See if Intermittent Fasting or Calorie-Counting Can Slow Aging

The dial-health study will help determine how intermittent fasting and calorie counting can improve a person’s “healthspan”

Effect of Time-Restricted Eating on Weight Loss in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Join the conversation!