By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
April 29, 2020
A recent study in Cell Metabolism confirms what I’ve been telling you for years…
Eating all of your daily meals in a six to eight hour time window can help you beat diabetes and heart disease. It can also get rid of some of that excess fat.
I absolutely love it when medical journals confirm my own observations!
You’ll get these health benefits even if you don’t change your activity levels or the amount of food you eat. And it will even work if you use a longer ten hour window to start.
Regardless of whether you call this “intermittent fasting” or “time-restricted eating,” my patients love the freedom it provides. It’s much easier to stick with compared to calorie restriction diets or 24+ hour fasts.
Time-restricted eating works in an entirely different way than calorie restriction or fasting. It works in concert with your circadian rhythm.
You probably already know that your circadian rhythm – your internal body clock – works on a light/dark cycle. What you may not realize is how this 24 hour cycle is naturally programmed for periods of eating and fasting.
In our modern world, most folks are suffering from chronic disruption of their natural circadian cycles. We’re surrounded by constant bright lights, electronic devices and hoards of food at our fingertips 24/7.
People stay up a LOT later than they did before electricity. They eat a lot more, too. Plenty of folks eat their first meal shortly after waking… and are still snacking as bedtime approaches.
All of this severely disrupts your circadian rhythm, which is closely intertwined with your metabolism (appetite, insulin response, energy expenditure and so forth).
However, practicing time-restricted eating can help to re-align your eat/fast cycle with your body’s natural 24 hour clock.
Eat in Sync with Your Body Clock
When you shorten the amount of time during which you eat each day, it can have some pretty profound effects on your health.
Time-restricted eating can:
- Decrease 24 hour glucose levels
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Upregulate your youth gene (SIRT1)
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce body weight and belly fat
- Change circadian clock gene expression in as little as four days
- Boost the responsiveness of beta cells (insulin producers) in your pancreas
- Improve measures of cardiometabolic health
I recommend setting aside a six to eight hour window each day to enjoy regular meals. You can pick any six to eight hour time window you want. But the earlier in the day you choose your window, the better your results will be. Then fast for the remaining 16 to 18 hours.
Typically, I will wake up and skip breakfast. Then, I’ll eat a nice lunch around 11:30am or noon and I’ll be done eating by 7:30pm. I give myself at least three hours to digest before I go to bed.
By the way, I mentioned that you can gain benefits of timed eating even if you don’t reduce caloric intake or change the foods you eat.
However, I urge you to make all of your meals healthy ones. Choose organic fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, beans and healthy fats. Add in small amounts wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat or organic pasture-raised poultry.
If you have a hard time getting started, you can expand your eating window to 10 hours a day to start. Then slash 10 or 15 minutes off each day until you’re down to eight or fewer hours of eating time.
You can also jumpstart your results by taking resveratrol and pterostilbene.
These are calorie restriction mimetics. They work by turning on your Sirt1 gene. This anti-aging gene is particularly protective when it comes to glucose control and insulin sensitivity related to metabolic disorders. Get at least 50 mg of resveratrol and 25 mg of pterostilbene each day.
Find what works best for you, keep at it for a few weeks and revaluate. We all have to get it that it’s up to us to learn to protect our health ourselves.
Restricting Meals to a 10-Hour Window May Help Prevent Diabetes, Heart Disease. Press Release. American Journal of Managed Care. Dec 2019.
Wilkinson MJ, et al. Ten-Hour Time-Restricted Eating Reduces Weight, Blood Pressure, and Atherogenic Lipids in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome. Cell Metab. 2019 Dec. [Online ahead of print.]
Ageing Res Rev. 2017 Oct;39:59-67. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2016.12.006. Epub 2016 Dec 23.
Circadian rhythms, time-restricted feeding, and healthy aging.
Manoogian ENC1, Panda S2.
Longo VD, et al. Fasting, circadian rhythms, and time restricted feeding in healthy lifespan. Cell Metab. 2016 Jun 14; 23(6): 1048–1059.
Jamshed H, et al. Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves 24-Hour Glucose Levels and Affects Markers of the Circadian Clock, Aging, and Autophagy in Humans. Nutrients. 2019 Jun; 11(6): 1234.
Sutton EF, et al. Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes. Cell Metab. 2018 Jun 5;27(6):1212-1221.e3.
Liu K, et al. Effect of resveratrol on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014. Jun;99(6):1510-9.