In 2012 Dr. Panda’s lab at the Salk Institute published a remarkable study on animals. The study was set up to compare a group of mice with daily fasting built in, and a control group that had no daily fasting built in. The study intended to maximize the activity of certain genes that would only activate after the animals had been fasting for a certain number of hours. Two groups of mice, ate the identical food, a high fat diet, and had the same amount of activity and light, the only difference was access to food. The intervention group of animals had access to their food only 8 hours a day, while the other group, the control group of mice had access to their food, all day long. After several weeks, the group of mice who had eaten their unhealthy food in a shortened time frame, the 8 hour eating group, were all still lean and fit, while the group of mice that had eaten the same amount of food, but throughout the day, had become heavy and unhealthy.
This demonstrated the profound effect of a prolonged fasting period. The 8 hour eating mice, had fasted for 16 hours, and that helped them to metabolize the high fat diet, process it, and reveal no injury to their organs or overall health as a result of maintaining a long fasting phase. While the control group had grazed all day and night, eating the same overall number of calories, they became overweight and ill, because they did not have the benefit of a built in fasting phase to their day.