Limiting your food to 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. can help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure, international researchers have found.
The randomized clinical trial of 90 obese adults in the United States found that people who ate only during the restricted period lost about 5 pounds more weight compared to those who ate for more than 12 hours or more.
They also lowered their blood pressure over a 14-week period.
“The eTRE (early time-restricted eating) intervention may therefore be an effective treatment for both obesity and hypertension,” the authors said.
“It also improves mood by reducing fatigue and feelings of depression and dejection and increasing strength, and those who can adhere to eTRE lose more body fat and trunk fat.
“However, ETRE did not affect most fasting cardiometabolic risk factors in the pivotal intention-to-treat analysis.”
The trial was conducted between August 2018 and April 2020.
The participants were adults aged 25 to 75 who were obese and who were receiving weight-loss treatment through the University of Alabama’s Weight Loss Medicine Clinic at Birmingham Hospital.
“Our data suggest that eTRE is feasible, as participants adhered to an average of six days per week, and most participants at least five days per week,” the authors said.
“Despite the challenges of navigating evening social activities and occupational schedules, eTRE adherence was comparable to other TRE interventions…and satisfaction was comparable across groups.
“In addition, we found that eTRE was acceptable for many patients. About 41 percent of the participants in the eTRE+ER group planned to continue practicing eTRE after the study was completed.”
However, the authors said larger studies were needed to confirm whether it was better to lose fat specifically.
“Future clinical trials will need to enroll much larger sample sizes — up to about 300 participants — to determine whether IF (intermittent fasting) affects body composition and cardiometabolic health,” the authors said.
“Future studies should examine whether the timing and duration of the eating window influence these results, as well as determine who can adhere to eTRE versus who cannot and would benefit from other meal interventions instead.
“The eTRE intervention needs further testing as a low-cost, easy-to-implement approach to improve health and treat disease.”
The authors also noted that there were some limitations to their study.
“Our study has a few limitations, including modest duration, mainly women enrolling and not reaching our target sample size, due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic,” they said.
“Also, we measured physical activity by self-report, not accelermetry, which may have limited our ability to detect differences in physical activity between groups.
“Finally, we measured cardiometabolic endpoints only under fasting conditions. Future research should examine glycemic endpoints in the postprandial state or over a 24-hour period.”