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10-Hour Eating Window Improves the Health of Firefighters

Collaborators

The proverb “timing is everything” couldn’t be more true for 24-hour shift workers and when they eat their meals. Scientists from the Salk Institute and UC San Diego Health found that a 10-hour eating window for firefighters lowers their VLDL (“bad”) cholesterol, improves their mental health, and reduces their alcohol intake by roughly three drinks per week. The results, published in Cell Metabolism, is the first randomized control trial of time-restricted eating on shift workers.

For The Healthy Heroes study, Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance leader Satchidananda Panda and his team logged the food intake of 150 firefighters from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department using the myCircadianClock app on their phones for three months. The firefighters were split into two groups, half of whom ate within a 10-hour window and the other half a 14-hour window. Both groups ate a Mediterranean diet and received nutritional counseling. The team’s findings could improve the health of other shift workers such as physicians, nurses, police, and pilots, which account for nearly 27 percent of the American workforce. 

The clinical trial is part of the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance Molecular Athlete moonshot research initiative that explores the timing of nutrition and how our circadian rhythms impact peak performance and health.

Read the press release from the Salk Institute

Read the full scientific study in Cell Metabolism

Media Coverage: New Scientist, BBC News, NBC News, MSN, KPBS, WebMD, ABC 10 NEWS, USA Today

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