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Time-restricted Eating For Weight Loss: Is It Effective?

We are all familiar with various diet plans and meal plans that help you get into your desired body size or help you build more muscles. The number of diet plans for weight loss is on a hike, with the focus being centred on modern society's need to stay healthy. We have been thoroughly advised on the foods to consume and foods to avoid but not about when to eat. And that is where time-restricted eating emerges.

What Is Time-restricted Eating?

A form of intermittent fasting, time-restricted eating is the most common form of intermittent fasting. Time-restricted eating, also known as time-restricted feeding is the type of diet that focuses on the type of food rather than the time of eating. This diet does not limit your intake of calories or carbohydrates but poses restrictions on the time of eating. A person following the time-restricted diet will only eat during specific hours of the day and fast for the remaining hours [1] .

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On following time-restricted eating, the individual eats all of their meals within a particular window of time every day. There is no specific time set for an individual to start the diet and can vary depending on the individual's preference. The usual time window followed in time-restricted eating is 8 hours, during which period you eat all your food for the day. For example, from 9 am to 5 pm or from 10 am to 6 pm [2] . The remaining 16 hours left in the 24 hours is viewed as the fasting period where the individual will not consume any calories. Consequently, the eating window in time-restricted programs ranges from 6 to 12 hours a day as well. However, it does not state that the individual should starve in the 16-hour window but drink water or no-calorie beverages, so as to remain hydrated [3] [4] .

Time-restricted eating provides the benefit of not cutting down the calories which is one common factor of all most all diet plans. This helps you to give up the habit of late-night snacking, one of the major causes of unhealthy weight gain [5] .

Time-restricted Eating For Weight Loss

By restricting not the types of foods but the time of eating is one of the easiest ways to lose weight. One of the major benefits the diet poses in case of excessive eating is that it avoids the common diet failures such as the cravings for night snacks. Various studies have been conducted on exploring the impact the diet has in reducing weight and pointed out that the diet puts a stop to the habit of overeating. That is, an average person eats food throughout the day. So, by adopting the time-restricted eating plan, the individual will be able to cut down unhealthy food consumption throughout the day [6] [7] .

A study conducted on exploring the impact of time-restricted in obese post-menopausal women asserted that the diet enabled healthy weight loss as well as showed improvements in the overall health of the individuals[8] . Another study conducted on mice procured the result that the subjects lost weight and had improved metabolic fitness. Another study conducted on humans pointed out that time-restricted eating helped people with obesity to lower their calorie intake and lose a small amount of weight[9] .

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Likewise, another study conducted on young men too was able to gain a positive impact of the diet. The study asserted that the subjects consumed 650 less, compared to their usual diet. Another study supports this finding by asserting that time-restricted reduced the number of calories by 20 per cent.

Consequently, it can be gathered from the studies that time-restricted eating has the potential for promoting weight loss [10] . However, there have been contradictions too to the positive results, with a small number of studies pointing out that the diet does not pose any benefits apart from that of limiting calorie intake each day.

Tips To Follow Time-restricted Eating

One of the easiest forms of a weight-loss diet, time-restricted eating, does not require one to spend extra money on types of equipment or special foods. Consider the following steps while adopting the diet [11] , [12] .

  • Begin gradually: Start your diet with a shorter fasting period and then gradually increase it over time. That is, start with a fasting period of 11:00 pm to 7:30 am and then gradually increase the time.
  • Limited exercises: As your body is not supplied with food for a long period of time, it is better that you take it easy with the exercise. Do not overexert your body.
  • Focus on fibre and protein: In the initial stages, it can be difficult for one to fast for long hours. Therefore, make sure that you incorporate foods rich in fibre and protein during the eating window, which will help control hunger.

Drawbacks Of Time-restricted Eating

  • Reducing the hours of eating can be difficult for some people[13] .
  • It does not provide any other benefits to your health.
  • People may over-eat during the eating window.
  • It poses minor side effects such as dehydration, tiredness and irritability[14] .

On A Final Note...

By focusing on the when you eat, time-restricted diet basically restricts your food consumption to a certain period of time. And, this can inherently aid in shedding that extra weight, especially the extra fat in your body. It has to be noted that, time-restricted eating is not for everyone - but can be tried!

View Article References
  1. [1] Gill, S., & Panda, S. (2015). A smartphone app reveals erratic diurnal eating patterns in humans that can be modulated for health benefits.Cell metabolism,22(5), 789-798.
  2. [2] Inoue, K., Zorrilla, E. P., Tabarin, A., Valdez, G. R., Iwasaki, S., Kiriike, N., & Koob, G. F. (2004). Reduction of anxiety after restricted feeding in the rat: implication for eating disorders.Biological psychiatry,55(11), 1075-1081.
  3. [3] Hatori, M., Vollmers, C., Zarrinpar, A., DiTacchio, L., Bushong, E. A., Gill, S., ... & Ellisman, M. H. (2012). Time-restricted feeding without reducing caloric intake prevents metabolic diseases in mice fed a high-fat diet.Cell metabolism,15(6), 848-860.
  4. [4] Fontana, L., Meyer, T. E., Klein, S., & Holloszy, J. O. (2004). Long-term calorie restriction is highly effective in reducing the risk for atherosclerosis in humans.Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciences,101(17), 6659-6663.
  5. [5] Hatori, M., Vollmers, C., Zarrinpar, A., DiTacchio, L., Bushong, E. A., Gill, S., ... & Ellisman, M. H. (2012). Time-restricted feeding without reducing caloric intake prevents metabolic diseases in mice fed a high-fat diet.Cell metabolism,15(6), 848-860.
  6. [6] Chaix, A., Zarrinpar, A., Miu, P., & Panda, S. (2014). Time-restricted feeding is a preventative and therapeutic intervention against diverse nutritional challenges.Cell metabolism,20(6), 991-1005.
  7. [7] Longo, V. D., & Panda, S. (2016). Fasting, circadian rhythms, and time-restricted feeding in healthy lifespan.Cell metabolism,23(6), 1048-1059.
  8. [8] Weindruch, R., & Walford, R. L. (1982). Dietary restriction in mice beginning at 1 year of age: effect on life-span and spontaneous cancer incidence.Science,215(4538), 1415-1418.
  9. [9] Varady, K. A. (2011). Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss?.Obesity reviews,12(7), e593-e601.
  10. [10] Connacher, A. A., Jung, R. T., & Mitchell, P. E. G. (1988). Weight loss in obese subjects on a restricted diet given BRL 26830A, a new atypical β adrenoceptor agonist.Br Med J (Clin Res Ed),296(6631), 1217-1220.
  11. [11] McManus, K., Antinoro, L., & Sacks, F. (2001). A randomized controlled trial of a moderate-fat, low-energy diet compared with a low fat, low-energy diet for weight loss in overweight adults.International journal of obesity,25(10), 1503.
  12. [12] Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S., Kempen, K. P. G., & Saris, W. H. M. (1998). Determinants of weight maintenance in women after diet-induced weight reduction.International journal of obesity,22(1), 1.
  13. [13] Chaix, A., Zarrinpar, A., Miu, P., & Panda, S. (2014). Time-restricted feeding is a preventative and therapeutic intervention against diverse nutritional challenges.Cell metabolism,20(6), 991-1005.
  14. [14] Pereira, M. A., Swain, J., Goldfine, A. B., Rifai, N., & Ludwig, D. S. (2004). Effects of a low–glycemic load diet on resting energy expenditure and heart disease risk factors during weight loss.Jama,292(20), 2482-2490.

Read more about: diet weight loss fat loss
Story first published: Thursday, May 23, 2019, 18:20 [IST]
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