Changes in the time you eat breakfast and dinner are helpful in reducing body fat – according to a new pilot study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science.
During a 10-week study on consumption in a time-restricted window (time-restricted feeding, TRF), researchers led by Dr. Jonathan Johnston of the University of Surrey (UK) investigated the impact of changes in meal consumption time on the amount and type of food consumed food, body composition and risk indicators for diabetes and heart disease.
The course of the study
The participants were divided into two groups – in the first participants they had to delay their breakfast by 90 minutes and eat dinner 90 minutes earlier, while in the second group the subjects ate their meals at their usual times (control group). Participants were required to provide blood samples and fill dietary diaries before and during the 10-week intervention. Participants also completed a questionnaire immediately after the examination.
In contrast to previous research in this field, participants were not asked to stick to a strict diet and could eat freely, provided they ate meals during a specific consumer window. This helped the researchers assess whether this type of diet was easy to follow in everyday life. The research team found that those who changed their meal time lost on average more than twice as much fat mass as the control group.
Although there were no restrictions as to what participants could eat, the researchers noticed that those who changed their meals time consumed less food than those in the control group. The observation was confirmed by the questionnaire replies, which showed that 57% of participants reported a reduction in food intake due to reduced appetite, less food or a reduction in the number of snacks (especially in the evening).
Application in practice
As part of this study, the researchers also investigated whether this way of eating would be realistic for long-term use in everyday life. After analysis, 57% of participants felt that they would not be able to maintain new eating times in excess of 10 weeks due to non-compliance with family and social life. However, 43% of participants would consider continuing if consumption time were more flexible. Dr. Jonathan Johnston said: “Although the study was conducted on a small group, it provided invaluable insight into how small changes in the time of eating can bring benefits to our body. Reducing fat reduces the risk of developing obesity and other related diseases, so it is necessary to
improve our overall health. […] We are now going to use these initial results to design larger, more comprehensive studies on time-limited consumption. “
Source: Rona Antoni, Tracey M. Robertson, M. Denise Robertson, Jonathan D. Johnston. A pilot feasibility-exploring the effects of a moderate time-restricted feeding on energy intake, adiposity and metabolic physiology in free-living human subjects. Journal of Nutritional Science, 2018; 7