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Eating at night could help you run more. The unexpected results of a study

An experiment on mice with rather curious results. It is explained in one study published in the specialized online magazine Nature Metabolism and is signed by a group of Chinese researchers. It would seem to demonstrate that the guinea pigs managed to double their running endurance when their meals were limited to their usual sleeping hours. In essence, the researchers investigated the effects of restricting energy supply windows, i.e. food, on exercise capacity. And they did so by measuring it both in sedentary mice and in well-trained mice.

The mice, that they usually sleep during the daywere divided into groups: the food for the first group was concentrated at night, when rodents are usually awake. The second group, however – the one that provided the most interesting results – had access to food only during daytime, which corresponds to that of sleep. Finally, the third group was not limited in terms of meals.

What came out of this singular investigation? According to the researchers, mice that had food available only during sleeping hours – that is, during the day – they almost have doubled times and distances able to run compared to animals that were fed during normal waking hours and those free to feed at any time. «Since mice are nocturnal animals – explained the Canadian Running magazine – feeding them during the day, which has led to huge improvements in running endurance, would be as if humans were allowed to eat only at night and fast during the day. The researchers stressed that further testing is needed to see whether this type of time-restricted diet would have similar benefits for human endurance.” Difficult and obviously very complex.

Close-up of happy woman eating pasta for dinner.Drazen Zigic

What, however, can be taken home from this investigation is the awareness of Relationship between time-limited nutrition and physical performance and highlights the importance of circadian rhythms in metabolism and athletic ability. Not only that: the study also sheds light on the ongoing debate on the value of intermittent fasting for runners in terms of performance. «Some investigations have found that constantly limiting food consumption to certain times of the day (such as the popular 16:8 plan, which involves 16 hours of fasting and an eight-hour window for eating), can help improve metabolism – he concludes the specialized newspaper – but some experts have warned that running on an empty stomach can negatively affect energy levels, hormonal regulation and bone density in runners.”

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Source: Vanity Fair

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