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Are you one of the 45 percent of people who made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight this year?
If so, beyond diet and exercise, there is one more thing that studies show could be the key to your success in dropping the pounds…
The time of day you eat. And here’s why something seemingly unrelated to your weight can weigh you down…
The big benefits of time-restricted feeding
University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers set out to discover whether changing a person’s eating schedule could help them lose weight and burn fat.
They followed men and women who were carrying around excess weight over four days of eating between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., as well as four days of eating between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Participants tried both eating schedules and ate the same number of calories both times.
The researchers then tested the impact of restricting evening feeding (called early time-restricted feeding, or eTRF) on calories burned, fat burned and appetite.
Here’s what they found…
Although eTRF did not affect how many total calories participants burned, it reduced daily hunger swings and increased fat burning during several hours at night. It also improved metabolic flexibility, which is the body’s ability to switch between burning carbs and burning fats.
In other words, not eating late in the day resulted in improved fat and calorie burn for higher weight loss.
According to the researchers, the big benefits of eTRF are due to the fact that the human body has an internal clock, and many aspects of metabolism are at their optimal functioning in the morning. So, if you eat in alignment with your body’s circadian clock by eating earlier in the day, it can positively influence all aspects of your health, including your metabolism.
Putting eTRF to work for your weight loss
If you’re like most people, you eat from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. With breakfast, lunch, dinner and grazing for snacks throughout the day, you could be eating for a 16 hour window.
Switching from this style of eating to time-restricted feeding may help you keep your New Year’s resolution and drop the extra pounds.
Time-restricted feeding is very simple — just choose a certain number of hours a day during which you will eat all your calories. The window starts when you first ingest something that isn’t toothpaste and ends when you have your last bite or sip of beverage that isn’t water at the end of your day.
As an example, if you normally eat breakfast at 8 a.m. and keep eating until around 9 p.m., you eat all your food in a 13-hour window each day.
For time-restricted feeding, you would reduce this number. For example, you may want to choose to only eat during a window of 8–9 hours. To implement the eTRF schedule used in the study, you eat your last meal by the mid-afternoon and do not eat again until breakfast the next morning. Basically, you eat a very early dinner or even skip dinner altogether.
And, because time-restricted feeding focuses on when you eat rather than what you eat, you can combine it with any type of diet, such as a low-carb diet or high-protein diet.
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- United States: “What are your 2018 resolutions?” — Statista
- Time-restricted feeding study shows promise in helping people shed body fat — University of Alabama at Birmingham