Exciting new studies suggest that eating most of your calories earlier in the day may increase fat burning to help you slim down.
The scientific term for restricting the timing of when you eat is called time-restricted feeding (TRF). To date, there are more than 100 published studies, mostly on animal models, that show promising results on how eating most of your calories to a restricted timeframe (8 to 9 hour period) can boost metabolism and fat burning, reduce hunger and appetite and improve blood sugar responses. Ultimately, TRF may help you naturally lose weight.
A study presented this week at the Obesity Society’s annual meeting is another one of the few human clinical trials to evaluate the effects of TRF in humans. (We wrote about results from a previous human trial here.) In this latest study, researchers at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center followed 11 overweight men and women over two separate trials. In one trial, they ate all of their meals between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.; during the other, they followed an average American eating schedule with meals between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Both diets included the same daily calorie amounts and were similar except for timing. On the last day of each diet, the researchers performed 24 hours of metabolic testing on the participants, and asked about their hunger levels.
Results? When people were on the TRF trial, they had less hunger and burned more body fat and improved blood sugar control. Part of why eating the majority of your calories earlier in the day makes sense is because the body’s insulin response is more efficient earlier in the day and appears to decline in the afternoon and evening, which may mean eating too many carbs later in the day may cause greater increases in blood sugar levels and a greater insulin response.