Fasting diets have grown in popularity in recent years, but little is known about their long-term effects, particularly on future generations. New research indicates that fasting diets may be harmful to future generations’ health. Fasting diets have grown in popularity in recent years, but little is known about their long-term effects, particularly on future generations. According to the new research, reduced food intake in roundworms has a negative effect on three generations of offspring, especially when those descendants have access to unlimited food.
According to new research from the University of East Anglia, fasting diets may have an impact on the health of future generations (UEA). Fasting diets have grown in popularity in recent years, but little is known about their long-term effects, particularly on future generations.
Reduced food intake in roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans) has a negative effect on three generations of offspring, according to new research published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, especially when those descendants have access to unlimited food.
New research shows that fasting diets could harm the health of future generations. Fasting diets have risen in popularity in recent years, however little is known about the long-term impact of these diets, particularly for future generations.
“We know that reduced food intake increases lifespan in many animals and can potentially improve health in humans,” said lead researcher Dr. Edward Ivimey-Cook of the University of East Anglia’s School of Biological Sciences. Little is known, however, about the long-term effects of reduced food intake, including time-limited fasting, on distant descendants.
“We wanted to find out more about the potential long-term impact of fasting diets.”
The researchers looked at how time-limited fasting affected lifespan and reproduction in roundworms and three generations of their descendants. They looked at over 2,500 worms from four generations. The first generations of worms were placed in one of four environments, including one in which they could eat as much as they wanted and another in which they had to fast.
Four generations of these parents’ offspring were then subjected to either full-feeding or fasting diets.
The team then evaluated the effects of various scenarios on future generations’ reproduction and longevity. These included what happens when great grandparents fast but subsequent generations can eat as much as they want, as well as cumulative fasting for four generations.
According to Dr. Ivimey-Cook: “We investigated what happens in roundworms. They are transparent, about 1mm long, and live in the soil, unlike us.” They lack bones, a heart, and a circulatory system. However, because they share many genes and molecular pathways that control development with humans, they are a classic model organism for studying the aging process in biology.
“They’re also extremely useful because they have a two-week life cycle, allowing us to study their development and that of generations of their offspring in a short period of time.” A similar study involving humans could take a century or more!
“We discovered that fasting increased their lifespan and improved offspring performance in terms of reproduction when the offspring themselves were fasting.” “However, we were surprised to discover that fasting reduced offspring performance when the offspring had unlimited food,” said the researchers, “and this detrimental effect was evident in grand-offspring and great-grand-offspring.”
This demonstrates that fasting can be costly to descendants, with the effect lasting generations. Fasting has sparked a lot of interest in terms of its potential benefits in promoting healthy aging in humans. Many of the molecular pathways involved in the fasting response are evolutionarily conserved, which means they exist in a wide variety of species, including humans.
As a result, our findings strongly suggest that we consider the multigenerational effects of fasting in various organisms, including humans. This is critical because it means we must carefully consider the long-term effects of fasting when attempting to live healthy lifestyles, because the negative impact may not manifest itself until future generations.”
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the European Research Council (ERC) funded the study (ERC).