New diet trend called 'time-restricted feeding' rolls over into 2018

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Beef hamburger, priced at 13,450 yen ($112), is served at the Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo May 1, 2007.
Beef hamburger, priced at 13,450 yen ($112), is served at the Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo May 1, 2007. Reuters/Kiyoshi Ota

Those following a new diet trend called time-restricted feeding or TRF consumed fewer calories and lost weight, a new study suggests. The new concept follows the rule to eat whatever one wants as long as it is in a specific time window.

Health experts recently shared a research behind TRF, with findings published in the journal Cell Metabolism. It has found that subjects following the latest diet trend recorded lower blood pressure. They have also experienced improved glucose levels and physiological changes associated with slowing the process of ageing.

University of Adelaide associate professor Leonie Heilbronn is studying the effects of TRF in overweight men. Sixteen men at risk of developing type-2 diabetes followed two schedules: eating from 8 am to 5 pm or from noon until 9 pm for a week. After a two-week break, they eat on the other schedule for another week.

Heilbronn said that both schedules improved their glycaemia responses. The men lost weight, but it was not enough to account for the better glucose levels. “There’s something else going on that’s not just driven by weight change,” reports Heilbronn as saying.

First human tests of early time-restricted feeding found that doing so reduced swings in hunger. It also altered fat and carbohydrate burning pattern, Science Daily notes. Courtney Peterson, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at UAB, said that eating only during a much smaller window of time that people are typically used to may help lead to weight loss.

Peterson and her colleagues followed 11 men and women with excess weight. Researchers found that early time-restricted feeding or eTRF reduced daily hunger swings and increased fat burning. It also improved metabolic flexibility, although it did not affect how many total calories participants burned.

Salk Institute for Biological Studies professor Satchidananda Panda has initially tracked the effects of TRF in mice. In 2015, he expanded his studies to include humans.

Panda found that when eight overweight people who usually eat for 15-plus hours a day restricted their eating to a 10-hour window for 16 weeks, they drop 4 percent off their weight. These people opted to stick to the plan and had kept the weight off.

According to Panda, all of them said they felt more energetic throughout the day. They were also feeling less hungry. Other types of diet such as the “apple cider vinegar diet” are expected to roll over into 2018.