New Scientist had a short piece about this. Mice were split in to two groups, both fed a high fat diet. One group was allowed to eat ad-libitum, the other in an eight-hour window:
- One group could snack whenever they liked, the other could only eat during an 8-hour window. Both groups consumed the same number of calories each day. Two other groups were fed a healthy diet under the same conditions.
Three months later, the weight of mice on the all-day, high-fat diet had increased by 28 per cent. Their blood sugar levels had gone up – a risk factor for diabetes – and they also had liver damage. In contrast, mice eating a high-fat diet for only 8 hours a day stayed healthy and didn't become obese. They also had better balance than mice on a healthy diet.
[Researchers reckon] the shortened feeding period gives metabolic systems longer to perform their function uninterrupted by a new influx of nutrients.