And that this weight loss-inducing hack requires a simple dietary change—one you’ve likely contemplated adopting? We’re guessing you’ll at least give it a shot. Well here it is: restricting your daily calories can help your metabolism stay young and running smoothly, according to a new study in the journal Cell.
Researchers at the Center for Epigenetics & Metabolism at the University of California came to this finding by collecting liver tissue samples in one group of mice at six months old and then at 18 months old. Then, they fed a different group of old mice 30 percent less calories than usual for six months and tested both groups’ cells’ energy usage. Since aging affects the circadian rhythm’s (the biological clock’s) control of metabolism, and old cells traditionally process energy much less efficiently than younger cells, their findings were eye-opening.
The old mice who were fed a low-calorie diet processed energy a lot more efficiently than old mice would on a regular diet. "In fact, caloric restriction works by rejuvenating the biological clock in a most powerful way. In this context, a good clock meant good aging." Paolo Sassone-Corsi, director of the Center for Epigenetics & Metabolism at the University of California, Irvine, said.
What’s more, in a comparison study done by the Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine and the Sassone-Corsi team, researchers discovered that a calorie-restricted diet kept mice’s rhythmic functions young. "The low-calorie diet greatly contributes to preventing the effects of physiological aging," said Salvador Aznar Benitah, who co-led the Spanish study. "Keeping the rhythm of stem cells 'young' is important because in the end these cells serve to renew and preserve very pronounced day-night cycles in tissue. Eating less appears to prevent tissue aging and, therefore, prevent stem cells from reprogramming their circadian activities."
If the findings ring true when it comes to humans’ circadian-controlled metabolic system, you may want to try cutting your caloric intake by 30 percent. So, if you normally eat 1,800 calories a day, try slimming down your meals to total of 1,260 calories and watch the fat melt away. Not sure how to slash the cals? Begin with these 25 Food Swaps That Cut 2,500 Calories A Week. Not only will you potentially rev your metabolism, you’ll also shed those last few nagging pounds!