Washington : A new study has revealed that restricting access to food to 8-12 hours rather than allowing constant access to food may help prevent and even reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes. According to the study, this time-restricted eating affects the balance of bacteria found in the gut and the researchers also found the occasional “cheat days” on weekends did not undo the benefits of time-restricted eating in mice. The researchers tested time-restricted feeding in mice under diverse nutritional challenges. In mice 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 animals. 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 access to food during the weekends, a protocol that would seem particularly relevant to humans. The study was published in the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism.