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27 Nov 2019
Time Restricted Eating
There is no doubt that diet trends come and go; the fat versus sugar debate rages on, and interest in veganism is showing no signs of slowing down, and research is well and truly under way on the gut biome. But now there is another body of science that is coming into the main stream (Time Restricted Eating), and rather than being about what you eat, its all about when you eat…
People eat in lots of different ways; mealtimes often have to fit around work and family schedules. Many of us will eat because we have been conditioned to think of breakfast, lunch and dinner as when we eat regardless of hunger. Many will stick to a strictly three meals a day, while others will eat five smaller meals, some people like to snack, others never eat in-between meals. Our eating habits are as unique as we are…
The problem is, that our body has a rhythm, the same clock that dictates when we should sleep/wake, also dictates how and when we should eat. It is one of the reasons that we are cautioned over eating late at night, our bodies are not built to be digesting food during the sleep phase, this is a time when the body should be doing repairing and healing tasks.
The Solution – Time Restricted Eating
Well, the answer lies in Time Restricted Eating – TRE is a process of consuming all of your food within a set window of time, for example twelve hours. Meaning if you had breakfast at 7am, then you should stop eating after 7pm.
Depending on your current schedule, you may need to alter your pattern of eating to fit in the window, for example taking breakfast to work so you can have it a bit later, or having an earlier dinner than you are used to.
Essentially you will be creating a fasting window of 12 hours in each 24-hour period. Some people start this straight away, others may benefit from reducing the eating window gradually until the 12 hours is met.
Why would you try it?
- A positive impact on metabolism
- Lowering risks of illness like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- Better cholesterol and blood sugar control
Why do you get these health benefits?
It is thought that the 12-hour fast creates a proper amount of time for your body to do restorative healing, that it might not otherwise have with constant grazing or late-night eating/digesting.
Time Restricted Eating isn’t actually a weight loss diet, but many people that try it do lose weight.
Some people report feeling less hungry and more energised and sleep better, reducing their need to turn to sugary snacks to feed energy slumps.
In other cases, evening snacking is reduced, the sort of mindless eating that you do whilst watching TV, as people are aware of the eating window closing.
- Benefits have been found in people that use the TRE window most of the time, i.e. 5 out of 7 days.
- People do use different fasting/eating windows, but more research is needed as to whether there are any additional health benefits to extending the fast and reducing the eating window against the 12/12 method.
- TRE may not be suitable for everyone, like those that have existing medical conditions, if you are pregnant or breast feeding etc. As with any change in exercise/diet you should seek advice from your GP before starting.