Eat the foods you love. Consume as many calories as you desire. Sound like a good diet plan? New research supports that you can lose weight – and gain metabolic health benefits – with one simple tweak to your diet. Just limit the number of hours (normally 8 to 12) each day in which you eat.
A diet trend called time-restricted eating, which is basically a form of daily fasting in which you refrain from eating for more than half the day, is gaining new support from nutrition scientists. Research has found it can be an effective way to lose weight and stay slim—even if you don’t restrict what you’re eating.
To follow a time-restricted diet (also known as intermittent fasting), you can continue eating the same foods you normally do, you just only eat them during a certain number of hours of the day. You start by restricting all eating to an 11- or 12-hour period—so, if you have breakfast at 8 a.m., you’ll have to set forks down by 7 or 8 p.m. You’re allowed to drink water, coffee, or tea (with no milk or sugar) during the fasting periods between bedtime and in the a.m., but you have to steer clear of ingesting anything else.
Begin by fasting for about 12 hours of the day (including the time you sleep). Once you get used to it and it feels fairly easy, try dialing it back even further, allowing yourself to eat only 10 or maybe even eight hours of the day. Nutrition research indicates that the longer you fast, the more fat you are burning for energy in the absence of glucose.
Animal-based studies suggest that time restriction might be all that’s necessary to help you slim down. Recent research published in the journal Cell Metabolism, found that this rule can help you maintain a healthy weight—even if you cheat on the weekends. And the study also found that it didn’t matter what you eat: If you eat it during a small window of the day, you’ll still be slimmer than if you eat it at all hours.
In addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight, time-restrictive eating might also help you have less inflammation and lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. Longer fasting periods and less eating in the evening may lower inflammation and risk of breast cancer as well.
It makes your body burn fat more efficiently. When glucose is absent, the body will break down fat stores into free fatty acids for energy. This use of free fatty acids enhance fat burning as you are using stored fat for fuel. And though it may seem contradictory, time-restriction can actually make you less hungry—by normalizing your body’s level of ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”). Fasting helps the regulation of this hormone so we feel hungry only when we actually need to eat.
A 2016 study of 34 men over an 8-week period, found a significant decrease in fat mass (16.4% vs 2.8%) in the time-restricted group. Muscle mass was maintained in both groups. The time-restricted group consumed the same number of calories as the control group, but limited feeding to an 8-hour window each day.
Stay on Track with your Diet Progress
Weight loss is difficult. It takes commitment. We need to be intentional about it, and measure our progress daily (weekly or even monthly weigh-ins allow too much room for error and excuse). To help with your goals, I’ve created a simple, powerful tool to keep you on track toward your diet goals. Just measure yourself daily, and take Action when needed. Its explained and shown in this Article: The Action Diet: Weight Loss That Works!
You WILL reach your weight loss goal using the Action Diet program.