Have you heard of time restricted eating? I was introduced to the idea last year when I first started following the work of Dr. Rhonda Patrick. Dr. Patrick is a biomedical scientist who runs a great website and produces podcasts and videos about health, nutrition, longevity and aging – so many interesting topics! One of her repeat podcast interview guests is Dr. Satchin Panda who researches circadian rhythm and the health benefits of time restricted eating. Time restricted eating is basically a form of intermittent fasting, and appears to me to be by far the easiest method to follow. When I learned about the opportunity to participate in an app-based research study I was in!
What exactly is time restricted eating?
The idea is to restrict your eating and drinking (except water) to a certain window of time. So far, the research suggests that an 8-12 hour eating window results in a number of health benefits. For example, if you were doing a 12 hour eating window you could eat breakfast at 7am then stop eating for the day by 7pm, resulting in 12 hours of fasting overnight. Outside of the eating window only water and medications are allowed. Sounds pretty straightforward right?
What are the benefits?
Our circadian rhythm controls a huge number of complex processes in the body. When we eat, drink, move and sleep can apparently have quite an impact on these processes. Modern habits like staying up late, skimping on sleep, exposing ourselves to artificial light, and eating at all hours are impacting our health in some scary ways. Amazingly, simply limiting the eating window has some pretty intriguing results in animal studies and a few human studies. Outcomes include:
• Weight loss and decreases in body fat
• Increases in lean muscle mass
• Decreases in inflammation
• Improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity
• Improved lipid profiles
• Better sleep quality
• Improvements in blood pressure
• Increases in alertness
• Increases in endurance
How does the study work?
The study is centered around a specially developed app called My Circadian Clock, which is used to track food and beverage intake, meal timing, weight, sleep, exercise and a few other optional health markers. Participants fill out a questionnaire to determine their eligibility and then proceed to document their baseline parameters using the app for two weeks. Participants are then asked to commit to a goal eating and sleeping schedule and continue to track themselves for a further 12 weeks. Food intake can be documented via photos, and the app also connects to other fitness tracking info via Apple health.
I’m a big fan of self-tracking for fitness and health goals, so it is quite exciting to have the chance to contribute my data to this promising research! Stay tuned for updates as I progress through the study.
Want to learn more?
Have you ever participated in a scientific study? Would you try time restricted eating?