Health benefits and risks of time-restricted eating

Credit: Pablo Merchán Montes / Unsplash

Time-restricted eating (TRE) is a form of intermittent fasting where you only eat during specific hours of the day.

For example, you might limit your food intake to an 8-hour window each day. This diet strategy doesn’t necessarily mean you eat fewer calories; it’s more about when you eat them.

TRE has been shown to reduce the risk of metabolic diseases like diabetes, making it a popular choice for many health-conscious individuals.

The Study at Colorado State University

Josiane Broussard, a health and exercise science assistant professor at Colorado State University, has been studying TRE for the past five years.

Her latest study had participants follow their normal eating patterns for a week, then switch to an 8-hour eating window for another week.

Broussard’s team tracked various markers in the participants’ blood throughout the study, including glucose, insulin, and lipids.

They found that TRE lowered glucose and insulin levels, along with some lipids associated with metabolic diseases.

Unexpected Outcomes

Interestingly, the study also revealed some unexpected effects of TRE.

Participants reported feeling less alert during their TRE week and even slept less than during the week of their normal eating schedule. Broussard’s team is currently investigating these surprising findings.

The Impact on Fat Utilization

Another fascinating outcome of the study was its impact on fat utilization.

Participants exhibited higher rates of fat oxidation following a week of TRE, even though their calorie burn at rest remained the same.

Essentially, after a week of TRE, participants burned more fat for energy compared to when they ate throughout the day.

The Link with Circadian Rhythm

Broussard’s research also explores the impacts of unconventional sleep schedules, like those of night shift workers.

These individuals are at higher risk for numerous health problems, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Broussard hopes that by better understanding the effects of eating and sleeping patterns on health, we can develop strategies to reduce disease risk, even for those who can’t avoid unconventional schedules.

Night Shift Workers and TRE

Broussard and her team are planning to take their research a step further by studying the impacts of TRE on third-shift workers.

They have submitted a grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health to fund this research.

They hope that by encouraging night shift workers to limit their food intake to daylight hours, they can reduce these workers’ risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In Summary

Time-restricted eating may lower glucose and insulin levels, potentially reducing the risk of metabolic diseases. However, it may also affect sleep patterns and alertness.

Further research is needed to fully understand the impacts of TRE, particularly for those with unconventional sleep schedules like night shift workers.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about the key cause of type 2 diabetes, and this eating habit could help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about unhealthy plant-based diets linked to metabolic syndrome, and results showing ultrasound may help reverse type 2 diabetes.

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