Time Restricted Eating Good for Weight Loss

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Jan 10 2017 - 11:51am
Weight loss and eating schedule

Have you heard of Buddha’s Diet? Its primary tenet - time restricted eating - may actually be a scientifically sound way to lose weight.

Many diets in the past have advocated completing the day’s food intake by 6pm, but there hasn’t been good research into why this is – until now. A new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows positive benefits for time-restricted eating which include weight loss and increased fat burning.

"Eating only during a much smaller window of time than people are typically used to may help with weight loss," said Courtney Peterson, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at UAB. "We found that eating between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. followed by an 18-hour daily fast kept appetite levels more even throughout the day, in comparison to eating between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., which is what the average American does."

In their study, Peterson and colleagues followed 11 overweight men and women over four days of eating between 8am and 2pm and four days of eating 8am to 8pm. The same number of calories were consumed during those time periods.

It appears that many aspects of optimal metabolism occur early in the morning. By changing eating schedules to be more in line with the body’s circadian rhythm, the participants experienced a reduction in daily hunger swings and an increased fat-burning at later hours of the night. This correlates well with prior animal studies that found that early time restricted feeding reduced body fat and decreased risk of chronic disease.

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The findings were presented at The Obesity Society Annual Meeting at Obesity Week 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

One of the more recent weight loss books on the shelves today is Buddha’s Diet: The Ancient Art of Losing Weight Without Losing Your Mind by Dan Zigmond. It is not a “diet” in the sense that you are cutting out foods or counting calories. Instead, you become more mindful of what you eat because you are limiting your “eating window” in increments so that you ultimately only eat during a 9-hour period of time, then fasting until the next day.

As long as the diet remains overall healthful – meaning that you continue to eat a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, etc - intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating may have a positive impact on weight and overall health.

Reference: University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Time-restricted feeding study shows promise in helping people shed body fat." ScienceDaily, 6 January 2017.

Additional Resource: Health.com – Intermittent Fasting and Buddha’s Diet

Photo Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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