In the world of health, fitness and weight loss, there seem to be a large number of studies constantly conducted to help us figure out how to fight obesity and get healthy. Recently, another study with important outcomes has published with some drastic results.
Identified as a way to have your cake and eat it too, this study shows that eating your last meal of the day earlier, and then fasting for a 16 hour stretch before eating breakfast, can decrease the risk of weight gain and decrease the onset of weight related diseases. The study was headed by regulatory biologist Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute in California. and was done on mice. He made the statement, “We have to come up with something that is a simple alternative to calorie counting.” The results of the study were published in the journal Cell Metabolism. Within the study, the participating mice were divided into groups and had a regulated diet for a total of 100 days.
There were three total groups with two being able to eat a diet that was high in fat and calories. The third group of mice was the control group and they ate a regular diet. Half of the high fat and calorie diet mice were allowed to eat anytime they wanted and snack throughout the day. The other half of those mice were restricted to eating during the eight hours of the day when they were the most active. That restricted group of mice also had a fasting period of 16 hours between their last meal and breakfast. They turned out leaner than the mice that ate throughout the entire day although they consumed the same amount of calories. The mice that ate throughout the day actually became obese during the study period and developed high cholesterol, high blood sugar, fatty liver disease and metabolic problems. The mice that fasted while eating a high fat diet showed virtually the same leanness, blood sugar and cholesterol levels as those in the control group. Those that fasted also showed the best endurance of all mice including the control group when on the exercise wheel.
As previously mentioned, these preliminary findings haven’t been tested on humans, but the initial research does speak in favor of fasting. There are definitely more tests needed, specifically on humans, so don’t throw out your current healthy habits. There have been previous studies done that show eating small meals throughout the day is a healthy way to keep hunger at bay and avoid overeating. While new studies are helpful and often interesting when looking at obesity, we must all remember to look to proven health strategies before incorporating new information into our routine.
May 18th, 2012