Instead of eating three square meals a day, an eating schedule that involves “intermittent fasting” could help fight not just obesity but many related diseases of modern life, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's, researchers say.
The advice given on fighting obesity usually focuses on consuming fewer calories and exercising more. The benefits of such foods as vegetables, fruits, nuts, fiber and fish, and the value of reducing or eliminating snacks are often also touted.
New research in mice suggests that restricting access to food to 8-12 hours in the day rather than allowing constant access to food may help prevent and even reverse obesity and type-2 diabetes.
The results of two studies published in the journal Cell Metabolism suggest that this time-restricted eating affects the balance of bacteria found in the gut [gut flora]. Researchers also found the occasional cheat days on weekends did not undo the benefits of time-restricted eating.
In the first study, the researchers tested time-restricted feeding in mice under diverse nutritional challenges. In animals fed a variety of high-fat and high-sugar foods, the strategy could help prevent the development of metabolic problems, and the benefits were proportional to the duration of fasting in the mice.
Interestingly, the protective effects were maintained even when the mice were given cheat days, when time-restricted feeding was temporarily interrupted by allowing the mice free …
All of these approaches emphasize the importance of the nutritional quality of the meals that are consumed. Nutrients such as protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals are essential for good health and, since nutrients are not consumed while fasting, they are especially important when breaking the fast. In addition, drinking a lot of water is encouraged both to stay hydrated and to alleviate hunger.
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