Time-Restricted Eating Doesn’t Aid Reduced Calorie Intake
The demand for calorie-restricted diets and meal plans grows by the day. However, can such diets also be aided by setting time restrictions—or rather windows—during the day when one is allowed to eat?
Time-restricted eating and limiting calorie intake are actually two of the most common ways to lose weight. The former is a type of intermittent fasting (eating only within a pre-established daily time frame), while the latter consists of reducing food intake without incurring malnutrition. Since we don’t know much about their mutual effects when implemented simultaneously, a recent New England Journal of Medicine study conducted in China drew a comparison between reduced calorie intake accompanied by time restrictions and reduced intake without them.
The participants were 139 adults categorized as obese (according to Chinese definitions of obesity and overweight). In other words, they all had a BMI between 28 and 45, and none of them had severe health issues. They were divided into two groups. The men in both groups were told to eat between 1,500 and 1,800 calories, while the women had a limit of 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day.
The first group had to squeeze all their meals in the period from 8:00–16:00. On the other hand, the second group was allowed to eat at any time of the day. Both groups were supposed to maintain their rhythms for 12 months. Out of the 139 participants, 118 succeeded and their progress could therefore be included in the results of the study.
Upon further analysis of the data drawn from the follow-up visit, the research team noted that the mean weight loss in the first group was 8kg, and 6.3kg in the second. Considering that the weight loss regimens lasted for a year, the difference between the results isn’t a substantial one.
Although the study indicates time-restricted eating isn’t more helpful than a calorie-restricted diet, the researchers did notice improvements in blood pressure, lipid, and fasting glucose levels with both methods.
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