This fascinating article describes the Buddha as data driven ascetic.
Buddha took a different approach: His rules were grounded in his own experience. Like a lot of us, he tried some crazy diets. But what worked for him was very simple. He gave little advice about what his monks should eat, but he was very particular about when they should eat it. His followers were basically free to eat anything they were given — even meat — but only between the hours of dawn and noon.
Like any good data scientist, Buddha learned to ignore the outliers. Buddha didn’t give a mystical or supernatural explanation for this odd time restriction. But he was pretty sure it would improve their health. He had tested it on himself. “Because I avoid eating in the evening, I am in good health, light, energetic, and live comfortably,” he explained. “You, too, monks, avoid eating in the evening, and you will have good health.”
The article goes on to discuss the empirical results of calorie restriction diets with mice.
Now, what I'd like to know, is there any grounds to believe that the Buddha had health in mind when he suggested not eating dinner?
I've read that many vinaya rules were based on how the laity would see the Sangha- eat lots would make the sangha look like gluttons, so they only took two meals.
Also, Nikaya Buddhism's central problem to be solved was desire & aversion, so it was the fixation on hunger that was the problem, not that dinner was making one fat, unhealthy or short-lived.