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Changing timing of eating helps shed body fat
February 4, 2018, 4:48 pm

Changing their eating schedule could probably help people lose weight and burn fat, says a new study by researchers at the University of Alabama in the US.

Researchers found that a meal-timing strategy called ‘early time-restricted feeding’ or eTRF, reduced hunger fluctuations and altered fat and carbohydrate burning patterns, which may help with losing weight. With eTRF, people eat their last meal by the mid-afternoon and do not eat again until breakfast the next morning.

The study found that eating between 8am and 2pm followed by an 18-hour daily fast kept appetite levels more even throughout the day, in comparison to eating between 8am and 8pm, which is what many people generally do.

The new research suggests that eating a very early dinner, or even skipping dinner, may have some benefits for losing weight, although further studies need to take place to confirm that theory.

The human body has an internal clock, and many aspects of metabolism are at their optimal functioning in the morning. Therefore, eating in alignment with the body's circadian clock by eating earlier in the day may positively influence health. This first test of eTRF in humans follows similar studies in rats that found eTRF reduced body fat and decreased the risk of chronic diseases in rodents.

Participants in the study tried both eating schedules, ate the same number of calories both times and completed all testing under supervision. The researchers found that, although eTRF did not affect how many total calories participants burned, it reduced daily hunger swings and increased fat burning during several hours at night. It also improved metabolic flexibility, which is the body's ability to switch between burning carbs and burning fats.

The team admitted that a larger, more comprehensive study would be needed to learn about the effects of eTRF on long-term weight loss or on improvements to other aspects of health.

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