Hey Angels and Alphas,
When you’re on a weight loss journey, you know that WHEN you eat might be just as important as the foods you choose.
While intermittent fasting is far from a “new” trend, it has really been gathering more and more attention lately.
As part of a recent study done in 2019, researchers followed 19 grown adults who had metabolic syndrome and spread their meals over a 14-hour window, meaning they limited their “eating hours” to a 10-hour window followed by 14 hours of fasting.
They found this was associated with weight loss, lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, and a smaller waist circumference.
Not to mention, the study also showed that time-restricted eating was one of the best ways to decrease visceral fat, also known as the dangerous fat that gets stored inside the stomach and is directly associated with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
So what’s the most optimal intermittent fasting window when we want to lose belly fat?
Basically, “time-restricted eating” is only a form of intermittent fasting – not the whole thing. Instead of deciding to fast on specific days or several 24-hour periods within a week, time-restricted eating is all about limiting your meals to a certain time window throughout the day.
Eating and drinking during, let’s say, a 10-hour window, allows your body to rest, digest, and restore for the next 14 hours while you’re spending your time sipping on water, coffee, or tea. According to the study co-author, Satchin Panda, PhD, essentially, your body starts to anticipate when you will eat and prepares itself for the most optimal metabolization of food.
And it’s not just this one study, too – other studies on time-restricted eating have shown pretty much the same results.
University of Alabama researchers came together to do a similar weight loss study where they split obese men with prediabetes into two separate groups.
The first group ate all of its meals within an 8-hour window, while the other group had its meals spread over a 12-hour window.
While both groups maintained their weight, those who restricted their eating to a smaller window had lower insulin levels, lower blood pressure, and reduced insulin sensitivity… which is *big* for people with prediabetes.
Study authors noted that the brain essentially works together with other organ systems to “coordinate” the body processes such as hormone production. When we manage food intake, these systems have a better chance of staying in alignment. While many Americans eat their largest meals at dinner, they are forcing the organs in their gastrointestinal system (including the liver) to do heavy-duty work while the brain is preparing to wind down and go to sleep. Time-restricted eating, on the other hand, aligns those rhythms and keeps your metabolism working properly.
The unique mind-body connection and intermittent fasting…
Research authors also suggested that while it might take your body only a few days to adapt to time-restricted eating, your brain might need much longer. This is because mealtimes are usually based on longstanding lifestyle habits and cultural norms.
And although the end goal for time-restricted eating and intermittent fasting is essentially the same, longer fasts became more difficult and more difficult to maintain. What’s more, research published in JAMA found out that about 40 percent of participants assigned to a fasting diet… just dropped out of the study. And for the people who actually went through and stuck with it, fasting on alternate days was no more effective in terms of losing weight than their daily calorie restrictions.
Bringing it all together…
Intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating can both provide massive health benefits and have the potential to positively impact your well-being… but we still need more studies and research to determine the long-term effects and make this a viable approach for losing visceral fat.
Most of the current research on time-restricted eating has focused on overweight middle-aged and young adults, though the results seem to be promising – a time-restricted eating window of about 14/10 hours has been directly linked to a smaller waist circumference and lower bad cholesterol.
For the people like you that are trying to shed pounds, balancing physical activity with a balanced energy intake is the best approach to losing weight overall, though this 14/10 window can help you achieve better results in less time.