The majority of us are creatures of habit when it comes to meal timing, but new research has found that altering your routine slightly could help significantly reduce body fat.
The small study looked at 13 people who followed ‘time-restricted feeding’ – a form of intermittent fasting that restricts your eating period to between eight and 12 hours a day. The clock starts with your first sip of coffee and ends with your last bite of dinner. Researchers discovered that subjects who delayed their breakfast and advanced their dinner by 90 minutes over a 10 week period lost twice as much body fat as a control group who didn’t alter their eating habits. Better yet, this was despite participants being directed to eat whatever they wanted.
However, the results showed that participants who changed when they chowed down ate less food than those who didn’t. In questionnaire responses, subjects noted that this was due to reduced appetite, fewer eating opportunities or a decrease in snacking. Researchers say that it’s uncertain that the effect of the longer fasting period was what contributed to the fat loss.
“Although this study is small, it has provided us with invaluable insight into how slight alterations to our meal times can have benefits to our bodies,” the study’s co-author Dr Jonathan Johnston said. “Reduction in body fat lessens our chances of developing obesity and related diseases, so is vital in improving our overall health."
Johnston notes that as demonstrated in the findings, fasting diets are clearly difficult to follow.
“We therefore need to make sure they are flexible and conducive to real life, as the potential benefits of such diets are clear to see. We are now going to use these preliminary findings to design larger, more comprehensive studies of time-restricted feeding."