Time Restricted Eating – Diet Health Benefits Or Risky Side Effects?


Over the last 3-4 decades, fitness enthusiasts, health experts, and nutritionists have assumed –and confirmed- that weight loss is an input/output issue.

In other words, if you reduce the amount of carbs you eat, stay active more, so you can use up all the energy generated by the food, and then some of the fat stored in the body, the fat will melt off your body pretty quickly.

Many diets and workout programs are centered on this basic concept. However, there’s a new and emerging school of thought that suggests that weight loss or gain isn’t necessarily about the ratio of the calories that you put into your body versus what you expend in energy.

These scientists are claiming that what is just as important as or even more important than everything else, is when you eat the foods that we have all come to believe are responsible for weight gain and fat.

As a result, they have created an all-new diet –well, not really new seeing as our ancestors probably lived the same way without even knowing it- that is designed to help you lose weight whilst still indulging in your favorite foods.

This diet is known as the Time Restricted Eating (TRE) diet.

What Is Time Restricted Eating (TRE)?

How does it feel to know that when you eat is more important than what you eat and can determine whether you gain or lose weight? Well, some nutritional researchers and scientists are beginning to think this might be the case.

Based on research and studies carried out by the researchers at the Regulatory Biology Lab in Salk institute, California, there is growing evidence that if you can do all your eating around certain hours of the day while spacing your dinner and breakfast like you would during the regular intermittent fasting, you will lose weight and reduce your risk of diabetes and obesity.

In other words, you don’t have to be on any diet. You can eat anything you want and pile up on all the carbs you want all day; as long as you only eat within the specified windows, you are good and will shed excess fat.

Time Restricted Eating as a modified form of intermittent fasting most likely works because you allow your body enough time to use up whatever calories you put in. This way, when you eat after the fast, your body’s digestive processes won’t be interrupted.

Now, the reason time-restricted eating is so appealing is that unlike other stringent and restrictive diets, you get to eat anything you want and still lose weight –albeit in small measures. For instance, with time-restricted eating, it is possible to lose between 1-2 lbs per week without any additional exercising or dieting.

But the weight loss benefits shift into overdrive when you actually watch what you eat. If you reduce your carb intake, increase your protein intake, eat more veggies and fruits, and stay quite active, it is possible to start losing between 5-7 lbs per week –that’s 20-28 lbs per month, easy.

Benefits Of Time Restricted Eating

The reality is that Time Restricted Eating is the complete opposite of what we’ve learned over the years regarding weight loss and gain. But, as can be seen from multiple studies like this and this one, it shows considerable promise.

No Food or Calorie Restrictions

As you may have noticed, the approach to time-restricted eating is very different from that offered by most dieting programs, most of which are either carb-restrictive or completely restricts and cuts out foods that you love.

Little wonder most people can’t stick to those dieting programs. This dieting method provides you with the option to eat whatever you want, whilst still getting rid of the weight. It’s like eating your cake and having it. It’s the perfect diet as far as we’re concerned.

In fact, a recent report published by The Obesity Society showed that people who took part in a variant of the diet known as the early time-restricted eating tended to lose more weight and minimize hunger swings courtesy of the process’ ability to accelerate the fat burning process in the body.

May Help Prevent or Reverse Metabolic Diseases

Fasting is not just effective for weight loss, it also helps prevent or even reverse certain health conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome –a condition that predisposes the sufferer to multiple chronic diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

To prevent diabetes or reverse prediabetes, fasting helps improve insulin sensitivity –the opposite of insulin resistance- and improves your body’s ability to deliver more sugars to target cells.

A study on fasting and insulin sensitivity proves that simply starving your body for at least 12 hours a day, helps insulin become more effective at taking up more sugar, thus preventing/reversing obesity, prediabetes and diabetes.

Might Prevent Certain Illnesses

Illnesses like coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, stroke, heart attacks, heart failure, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer can be prevented by simply adopting a healthier lifestyle, eating less junk, and improving your body’s ability to burn fat.

The time-restricted eating diet can help you do all these. Studies have linked intermittent fasting to the prevention of some of these conditions. So, if you want to live longer and healthier, you should start adopting a healthier version of the time-restricted eating diet. By healthier, we mean lowering the amount of junk you eat during the eating window, and actually eating healthier during those hours.

Has Tremendous Health Benefits

Fasting for 12-16 hours every day has incredible health benefits for those who routinely do it.

It can help everything from accelerating your metabolism so that your body digests food faster to promoting longevity, boosting your immune system, improving your cognitive functions so you can think clearly and be more productive, reducing inflammation, enhancing your body’s ability to get rid of toxins, helping to improve your sense of control over appetite stimulating hormones, improving your overall sense of well-being and lowering blood sugar levels,.

A University of San Diego study involving 2,200 women showed that those who were placed in the intermittent fasting group –fasted for 12 hours or more- exhibited better sugar control compared to the second group that were allowed to eat whenever they wanted and fasted for less than 12 hours.

What’s The Best Time-Restricted Eating Procedure?

For now, there’s no specified routine, recipe, food type or program that you can follow step by step. The one thing that is constant however, is staying off foods for 12-16 hours a day.

It is important to continue to research the best possible meal times, foods, and fasting period or days in order to get the best out of this dieting method. For instance, is no one knows what the optimal fasting days or times are.

For example, is it better to start your fast at 7pm in the evening and eat at 10am the next day? Or 8pm and 9am? Is it better to eat light or eat heavy in the evening –after all, there’s no restriction on your food intake-?

How many days do you have to do this every week to get the best results, and eliminate marginal gains? Health authors like Dr. Zinczenko recommend 3-4 days a week and eating within a 12-16 hour window, while others recommend an 8-10 hour eating window, every day of the week. This is why research is still required to get the optimum framework and regimens.

One thing is clear though: if you’re going to be doing the time-restricted feeding program, you might as well eat healthy. It’s dangerous to just scarf down tons of burgers or fries every opportunity you get within the stipulated eating window.

This is because even if you lose weight, all that fatty deposit can cause anything from arteriosclerosis to stroke and cardiovascular disease. The ultimate goal of this program is to help you lose weight, improve your overall health, so you feel great about yourself and stay in excellent health for as long as possible.

So, eat more whole grain cereals, proteins, healthy fats, veggies, fruits, drink more water, cut back on the soda and all sugar loaded drinks, and slow down on the carbs. There are people who feel skipping breakfast is a great way to follow the program.

We don’t recommend this, seeing as skipping breakfast can result in lower energy levels by mid-morning. Instead, eat light in the morning. Some toast, smoothie tea or coffee will do the trick. Oh, and make sure to drink lots of water too.

If you’re wondering about the side effects of time-restricted eating, don’t. So far, there aren’t any known side effects. However, considering that there might be a few individuals that this program can affect, it would be important to highlight some conditions that may not necessarily benefit from being on the program at this time.

Some of these include people who already have low blood sugar. You might want to get your low blood sugar situation under control before attempting the time-restricted eating program. That said, time restricted eating is a great way to vastly improve your health, lose weight and control your hunger pangs.

Try it for a few days and let’s know how you feel in the comments section.

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