Weight for It: Time-Restricted Eating Benefits Those at Risk for Diabetes, Heart Disease
Pilot study finds limiting food consumption to a 10-hour window each day translated into lost pounds, lower blood pressure and more stable insulin levels
Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, that increase the risk for adverse health issues, from heart disease and diabetes to stroke. Eating healthier, getting more exercise and taking prescribed medications when needed are common remedies but often prove insufficient to fully managing risks.
In a recent collaborative effort, researchers from University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reported a form of intermittent fasting, called time-restricted eating, improved the health of study participants who had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
The pilot study, published online in the December 5, 2019 edition of Cell Metabolism, found that when participants restricted their eating to 10 hours or less over a period of 12 weeks, they lost weight, reduced abdominal fat, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol and enjoyed more stable blood sugar and insulin levels.
“As a cardiologist, I find it is very hard to get patients with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome to make lasting and meaningful lifestyle changes,” said Pam Taub, MD, co-corresponding author and associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Institute at UC San Diego Health. “There is a critical window for intervention with metabolic syndrome. Once people become diabetic or are on multiple medications, such as insulin, it’s very hard to reverse the disease process. “Metabolism is closely linked with circadian rhythms, and knowing this, we were able to develop an intervention to help patients with metabolic syndrome without decreasing calories or increasing physical exercise.”
Time-restricted eating (eating all calories within a consistent 10-hour window) allows individuals to eat in a manner that supports their circadian rhythms and their health. Circadian rhythms are the 24-hour cycles of biological processes that affect nearly every cell in the body. Erratic eating patterns can disrupt this system and induce symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including increased abdominal fat and abnormal cholesterol or triglycerides.
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