Restricting your eating to between 7 am and 3 pm may help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure, international researchers have found.
The randomized clinical trial of 90 obese adults in the United States found that people who only ate during the restricted period lost about 5 pounds more weight, compared to those who ate over 12 or more hours.
They also lowered their blood pressure over a 14-week period.
“The eTRE (early time-restricted eating) intervention may therefore be an effective treatment for both obesity and hypertension,” the authors said.
“It also improves mood by decreasing fatigue and feelings of depression-dejection and increasing vigor, and those who can stick with eTRE lose more body fat and trunk fat.
“However, eTRE did not affect most fasting cardiometabolic risk factors in the main intention-to-treat analysis.”
The trial was conducted between August 2018 and April 2020.
Participants were adults aged 25 to 75 years with obesity and who received weight-loss treatment through the Weight Loss Medicine Clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital.
“Our data suggest that eTRE is feasible, as participants adhered six days per week on average, and most participants adhered at least five days per week,” the authors said.
“Despite the challenges of navigating evening social activities and occupational schedules, adherence to eTRE was similar to that of other TRE interventions … and satisfaction was similar between groups.
“Furthermore, we found that eTRE was acceptable for many patients. About 41 percent of completers in the eTRE+ER group planned to continue practicing eTRE after the study concluded.”
However, the authors said larger trials were needed to confirm if it was better for losing fat specifically.
“Future clinical trials will need to enroll much larger sample sizes — up to approximately 300 participants — to determine whether IF (intermittent fasting) affects body composition and cardiometabolic health,” the authors said.
“Future studies should investigate whether the timing and duration of the eating window affect these results, as well as determine who can adhere to eTRE vs. who cannot and would instead benefit from other meal-timing interventions.
“The eTRE intervention should be further tested as a low-cost, easy-to-implement approach to improve health and treat disease.”
The authors also noted there were some limitations to their study.
“Our study has a few limitations, including being modest in duration, enrolling mostly women, and not achieving our intended sample size, partly owing to the Covid-19 pandemic,” they said.
“Also, we measured physical activity by self-report, not by accelerometry, which may have limited our ability to detect differences in physical activity between groups.
“Finally, we measured cardiometabolic endpoints only in the fasting state. Future research should investigate glycaemic endpoints in the postprandial state or over a 24-hour period.”
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