Time-restricted eating is a way of eating that focuses on timing. Time-restricted eating is a type of intermittent fasting. The term intermittent fasting refers to any diet that alternates between periods of restricted calories and eating normally. The goal of time-restricted eating is to eat in or around an eight hours window. It is important to understand if you eat too little food daily your metabolism will decrease. The goal is to reduce the number of meals that you eat daily, but not calories. Research shows that eating less often is beneficial to your health and eating fewer foods increases life span. Take a look at just a few of the benefits:
- Weight loss
- The ability to use multiple fuel sources for energy, AKA Metabolic flexibility
- Cellular repair
- Reduce insulin resistance
- Reduction of inflammation in the body
- Decreases risk of heart disease
The list goes on! While there are many types of time-restricted eating, I will outline the two most frequently used in my practice.
Dr. Satchin Panda is a professor and researcher at the Salk Institute who has become recognized as one of the leading experts on circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. Dr. Panda’s findings provide substantial evidence that working with your body’s circadian rhythm by using a shortened eating window that begins within two hours upon waking is the most beneficial form of time-restricted eating. It would look like this;
- Wake- 6:00 am
- Breakfast- 8:00 am
- Lunch- 12 noon
- Dinner- 4:00 pm
Intermittent fasting is more common because it fits better with most people’s lifestyle. Commonly, family dinner is the primary time for families to get together. While the benefits are not as substantial as circadian fasting, the family interaction will make up for it. If you eat dinner at seven pm, then you would start eating at eleven am. It would look like this;
- Wake- 6:00 am
- Breakfast -11:00 am
- Lunch - 3:00 pm
- Dinner - 7:00 pm
Eating counts for anything that you have to digest, for example, having coffee with cream, drinking an energy drink, and having a mint. Between meals any non-calorie drink can be consumed. Do NOT consume any artificial sweeteners!
Whether you chose to eat around your circadian rhythm or choose an intermittent fast time frame that works for you, both have proven health benefits. Pick a plan that you can do the most consistently while knowing that you will need to be flexible when there are social obligations etc. As with anything, consistency is key!