Restricting eating to a 10-hour period each day can help promote weight loss and improve lipid levels, a new study finds.
Without otherwise restricting their calorie intake, people in the study lost 3-4 percent of their body weight.
Overweight people who restricted eating to a 10-hour window each day also reduced their belly fat, lowered their blood pressure and reduced bad cholesterol levels.
Dr Emily Manoogian, study co-author, explained:
“Eating and drinking everything (except water) within a consistent 10-hour window allows your body to rest and restore for 14 hours at night.
Your body can also anticipate when you will eat so it can prepare to optimize metabolism.
We wanted to know if controlling the timing of food intake to support circadian rhythms would improve the health of individuals that were already being treated for cardiometabolic diseases.”
The study included 19 people diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of problems including excess belly fat, high blood pressure and low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol.
For three months, they restricted their eating to a 10-hour window each day — effectively fasting for the remaining 14 hours.
People could eat as much as they liked during this 10-hour period and calories were not controlled.
Typically, people ate their breakfast later and had their dinner earlier.
The results showed that people lost weight and improved their heart health, as well as fighting the metabolic syndrome.
Professor Satchidananda Panda, study co-author, said:
“We have found that combining time-restricted eating with medications can give metabolic syndrome patients the ability to better manage their disease.
Unlike counting calories, time-restricted eating is a simple dietary intervention to incorporate, and we found that participants were able to keep the eating schedule.”
People in the study lost weight without doing extra exercise or restricting calories, said Dr Pam Taub, study co-author:
“Metabolism is closely linked with circadian rhythms, and knowing this, we were able to develop an intervention to help patients with metabolic syndrome without decreasing calories or increasing physical exercise.
If we can optimize circadian rhythms then we might be able to optimize the metabolic system.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism (Wilkinson et al., 2019).