What you should know about time-restricted feeding
If you’re looking to shed body fat, time-restricted feeding (TRF) could be the answer. TRF is a form of intermittent fasting—which has several intriguing benefits over regular dieting. With intermittent fasting, the idea is that you can eat only during an eight-hour period in the day—between, say, 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. The rest of the day, you don’t touch food or calories in any form. Now a study recently published in the Journal of Nutritional Science suggests that TRF—a less extreme form of intermittent fasting—may offer just as many benefits. Read about these proven benefits of intermittent fasting.
Scientists led by the University of Surrey’s Jonathan D. Johnston, PhD, split 16 volunteers into two groups:
- One group delayed their typical breakfast time by 90 minutes and then ate their dinner 90 minutes earlier than they normally might. This shortened their eating “window” by three hours.
- The other group ate at their normal hours.
Both groups ate the foods of their choice in their own home—this wasn’t a laboratory-based study performed under rigidly controlled conditions. Periodically, the researchers tested the volunteers’ blood, checking their blood sugar and cholesterol levels, among other measurements. The volunteers kept careful diet diaries and completed a feedback questionnaire at the end of the study.
After ten weeks, the first group had lost, on average, more than twice as much body fat as the second. After analyzing the diet diaries, the researchers found that the TRF group had simply eaten less. In fact, 57 per cent of the first group noted on their questionnaires that they’d eaten less; they said their appetites weren’t as strong and they had fewer opportunities to eat. Plus, they eliminated nighttime snacking. (If you can’t eliminate that yourself, reach for these low-calorie snack ideas.)
While this study can’t conclusively link lower body fat to the TRF schedule, it makes clear the advantages of limiting people’s eating time. Next up: Repeating the research with bigger groups and for a wide range of ages and conditions. For example, study author Johnston explained in a press release that TRF is not always compatible with family and social obligations—although it may be possible to follow the approach most days of the week but then suspend TRF during a day or two when life’s demands inevitably get in the way. Now read about calcium-rich foods that are natural fat burners.
Originally published as This Easy Change Could Help You Burn Body Fat Faster on RD.com.