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The science behind time-restricted eating

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance -

  • Time-restricted eating (TRE) is a form of intermittent fasting where you eat all of your meals for the day within a restricted window of time. Your eating window could range from two to eight hours a day, fasting for the remaining 16 to 22 hours
  • Recent research found eating all meals between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. resulted in greater metabolic flexibility, reduced hunger and increased sense of fullness, resulting in weight loss
  • In another study, an eight-hour time-restricted feeding schedule was found to produce mild caloric restriction and weight loss, without calorie counting
  • Compared to controls, strength training athletes who trained while adhering to a time-restricted eating schedule saw a decrease in fat mass after eight weeks, while maintaining muscle mass and maximal strength
  • A similar study found men who performed resistance training for eight weeks while eating all meals within four hours on non-workout days (four days a week) lowered their calorie intake while increasing strength and muscular endurance

Research overwhelmingly supports the notion that ditching the three square meals a day approach in favor of time-restricted feeding — a form of intermittent fasting — can do wonders for your health. Contrary to modern belief, your body isn't designed to be fed throughout the day, and the near-continuous grazing that most engage in can have serious health consequences.

Research by Satchidananda Panda, Ph.D., suggests 90% of people eat for more than 12 hours a day, and over time this habit will wreak havoc on your metabolism and limit your ability to metabolize fat as a primary fuel.


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