Targeting Energy Intake and Circadian Biology to Engage Mechanisms of Aging in Older Adults With Obesity: Calorie Restriction and Time-Restricted Eating

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2023 Jun 16;78(Supplement_1):79-85. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glad069.


With the rise in obesity across age groups, it has been a hindrance to engaging in physical activity and mobility in older adults. Daily calorie restriction (CR) up to 25% has been the cornerstone of obesity management even though the safety in older adults remains incompletely understood. Although some adults can follow CR with clinically significant weight loss and improved health metrics, CR faces 2 obstacles-many fail to adopt CR and even among those who can adopt it short term, long-term compliance can be difficult. Furthermore, there is a continuing debate about the net benefits of CR-induced weight loss in older adults because of the concern that CR may worsen sarcopenia, osteopenia, and frailty. The science of circadian rhythm and its plasticity toward the timing of nutrition offer promise to alleviate some challenges of CR. The new concept of Time-Restricted Feeding/Eating (TRF for animal studies and TRE for human studies) can be an actionable approach to sustaining the circadian regulation of physiology, metabolism, and behavior. TRE can often (not always) lead to CR. Hence, the combined effect of TRE through circadian optimization and CR can potentially reduce weight and improve cardiometabolic and functional health while lessening the detrimental effects of CR. However, the science and efficacy of TRE as a sustainable lifestyle in humans are in its infancy, whereas animal studies have offered many desirable outcomes and underlying mechanisms. In this article, we will discuss the scope and opportunities to combine CR, exercise, and TRE to improve functional capacity among older adults with obesity.

Keywords: Bone Aging; Calorie restriction; Sarcopenia; Sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Biology
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Energy Intake
  • Fasting
  • Humans
  • Obesity*
  • Weight Loss / physiology