The Benefits Of Early Time Restricted Eating

“The Benefits of Early
Time-Restricted Eating” Time-restricted feeding, where you try
to squeeze the same amount of eating into a narrow evening window,
has benefits compared to eating in the evening and earlier in the
day,but also has adverse effects because you’re eating
so much so late. The best of both worlds was
demonstrated in 2018— time-restricted feeding into a
narrow window earlier in the day. Individuals randomized to eat the same
food, but just in an 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. eating window, experienced a drop
in blood pressures, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance even
when all the study subjects were maintained at the same weight. Same food, same weight,
but with different results. The drops in blood pressures
were extraordinary, from 123/82 down to 112/72 in five weeks, comparable
to the effectiveness of potent blood pressure drugs. The longest study to date on time-
restricted feeding only lasted 16 weeks, a pilot study with no control group
that only involved eight people, but the results are
still worth noting. Overweight individuals
who, like most of us, were eating more than 14 hours a
day were instructed to stick to a consistent 10 to 12 hour feeding
window of their own choosing. On average they were able to successfully
reduce their daily eating duration by about 4.5 hours, and within
16 weeks they had lost seven pounds. They also reported feeling more
energetic and sleeping better. This may help explain why all participants
voluntarily expressed their interest in continuing the time-
restricted feeding on their own even after the study ended. You don’t often see that
after weight loss studies. Even more remarkably, eight months
later they retained their weight loss and improved energy and sleep. At the one-year point, maintained
their boosted energy and sleep and kept the weight off, all from
one of the simplest of interventions: Just telling people to stick
to a consistent 10 to 12 hour feeding window of their
own choosing. How did it work? Even though they weren’t told to
change nutrition quality or quantity, they appeared to unintentionally
eat hundreds of fewer calories a day. With self-selected time frames
you wouldn’t necessarily think to expect circadian benefits,
but because subjects were asked to keep the eating window
consistent throughout the week “metabolic jetlag could be minimized.” The thinking is that because people
tend to start their days later on weekends that’s disrupting
their circadian rhythm, and indeed it is like they
flew a few time zones west on Friday evening and flew
back east on Monday morning; so, some of the metabolic
advantage may have been due to maintaining a more
regular eating schedule. Early or mid-day time-restricted
feeding may have other benefits as well. Prolonged nightly fasting with
reduced evening food intake has been associated with
lower levels of inflammation and better blood sugar control,
both of which might be expected to lower the risk of
diseases such as breast cancer. So, data was collected on
thousands of breast cancer survivors to see if nightly fasting
duration made a difference. Those who couldn’t go more than
13 hours every night without eating had a 36 percent higher
risk of cancer recurrence. These findings have led to
the suggestion that efforts to “avoid eating after 8 pm and
fast for 13 hours or more overnight may be a beneficial consideration
for those patients looking to decrease cancer
risk and recurrence,” though we’d need a randomized
controlled trial to know for sure. Early time-restricted feeding
may even play a role in the health of perhaps the longest
living population in the world, the Seventh-Day Adventist
Blue Zone in California. Slim, vegetarian, nut-eating,
exercising, non-smoking Adventists live about a decade longer
than the general population. Their greater life expectancy
has been ascribed to these healthy lifestyle behaviors,
but there’s one lesser known component that also may
be playing a role. Historically, eating two large
meals a day, breakfast and lunch, with a prolonged overnight fast
was a part of Adventist teachings. Today, only about 1 in 10
Adventists surveyed were eating just two meals a day, but most, over 60 percent,
reported breakfast or lunch was their largest meal of the day. Though this has yet to be
studied with respect to longevity, frontloading one’s calories
earlier in the day with a prolonged nightly fast has been associated with
significant weight loss over time, leading the researchers to conclude
that eating breakfast and lunch five to six hours apart and making
the overnight fast last 18 to 19 hours may be a useful practical
strategy for weight control. The weight may be worth the wait.
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