Intermittent fasting can help tackle obesity. Restrict access to food between eight and 12 hours instead of eating without restriction can help prevent and even reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes. A study suggests that eating restriction affects the balance of bacteria found in the gut.
The scientists assessed restricted feeding time in mice under different nutritional challenges. In animals fed a variety of foods high in fat and high sugar mice, the strategy could help prevent the development of metabolic problems and benefits were proportional to the duration of fasting animals. Previously these researchers found that this type of restricted feeding can help prevent obesity caused by high fat diets, but not studied its effects over other nutritional challenges or preexisting obesity.
The protective effects remained even when the mice had what they called a “cheat day”, ie, when the fast is temporarily interrupted to allow the rodents free access to food during the weekends, a protocol that seems particularly relevant to humans.
Finally, restricted feeding time stopped or reversed the progression of preexisting metabolic diseases in these animals, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
In a second study, researchers examined the effects of different feeding patterns in bacteria residing in the gut, which constitute what is known as the intestinal microbiome and is known to affect the body’s metabolic processes. The researchers team found that the intestinal microbiome is very dynamic, exhibiting cyclical fluctuations in the proportions of the different bacteria daily. The diet-induced obesity disturbs many of these cyclic fluctuations of the bacteria. This offers a new paradigm for understanding the etiology of metabolic diseases and unwanted intestinal microbiome in modern lifestyles marked by irregular eating patterns.