Fewer meals daily may lower diabetes and obesity risk

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A recent review has shed light on the potential health benefits of time-restricted eating, a form of fasting that involves eating fewer meals and abstaining from food for 12 to 14 hours, typically overnight.

This dietary pattern is gaining attention as a way to reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes while enhancing overall health.

The research highlights a clear link between frequent meals and higher rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

This challenges the traditional dietary advice of eating three meals a day with snacks in between, which may keep insulin levels high all day long.

High insulin levels, combined with a diet rich in calories and sugars as commonly consumed in the United States, can lead to insulin resistance—a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

Time-restricted eating offers a natural way to lower insulin and glucose levels in the body. This not only improves insulin resistance but also benefits brain health and glycemic control.

An intriguing find from the study is that this eating pattern can reduce daily calorie intake by about 550 calories simply because there’s less time during the day to eat, eliminating the need for meticulous calorie counting.

Another significant advantage of time-restricted eating is its positive impact on the gut microbiome. By altering gut bacteria, this eating pattern can help reduce inflammation and prevent various metabolic disorders.

It also helps regulate hormones that control appetite and energy levels, contributing to overall health.

The review suggests establishing regular meal times and including a healthy breakfast as effective strategies to combat obesity and diabetes.

However, not all breakfasts contribute equally to health; opting for meals high in healthy fats and proteins, such as eggs, rather than sugar-heavy options like cereals and pastries, is recommended.

While the benefits of time-restricted eating are notable, the review points out that other forms of dietary restriction, such as multi-day fasts, may not offer the same health advantages.

In America, where over 40% of adults are clinically obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity remains a significant public health issue. It is associated with numerous health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

The research underscores the preventability of obesity, suggesting that adopting time-restricted eating could be a key strategy in addressing this epidemic.

The researchers acknowledge that dietary needs can vary greatly depending on an individual’s size and activity level. Therefore, what might be a sufficient meal for one person could be inadequate for another.

Nonetheless, the overarching message from the study supports the idea that consuming fewer, higher-quality meals could help those at risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes.

One additional recommendation from the research is to avoid eating late at night, which can disrupt sleep by keeping the digestive system active, further complicating metabolic health.

For those interested in delving deeper into the specifics of this study, it has been published in the journal Nutrients, providing a comprehensive look at how time-restricted eating can be a powerful tool for preventing and managing obesity and diabetes while improving overall well-being.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduce cancer death.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about plant nutrient that could help reduce high blood pressure, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

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