A study suggests that eating all of your meals in a 6-hour window may prevent diabetes (Sutton et al., 2018).
Courtney Peterson at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and her colleagues tested a time-restricted diet in eight overweight men who were all on the threshold of developing type 2 diabetes.
For five weeks, the volunteers ate identical breakfasts, lunches
and dinners. Half were assigned to eat all three meals within a 6-hour period ending no later than 3pm, while the other four ate within a more typical 12-hour time frame.
After five weeks, the groups swapped for a further five weeks.
The time limit led to improved sugar control. The team also saw drops in overall appetite and blood pressure.
These effects were not due to weight loss, since everyone ate enough to maintain their weight. Instead, eating earlier in the day may align better with circadian rhythms.
“We’ve evolved to be active during the day, so it makes sense for our metabolism to rev up at the beginning of the day and rev down at night to be as efficient as possible,” says Peterson.
Sutton, E.F., Beyl, R., Early, K.S., Cefalu, W.T., Ravussin, E. & Peterson, C.M. (2018) Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes. Cell Metabolism. 27(6), pp.1212-1221. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2018.04.010.