Men at risk of type 2 diabetes in Australia had promising results controlling their blood sugar just by restricting the time period during which they ate. That’s what a report recently published in the journal Obesity showed.
Time restricted eating, also known as intermittent fasting, is growing in popularity and involves eating only during a certain window of time each day. The remaining time is considered a fast.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide worked with a group of 15 men for a one-week period. Study participants were restricted to eating only nine hours during the day. Some were allowed to eat from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. while others ate during a noon to 9 p.m. window. They were all encouraged to eat the same foods and amounts they normally would.
Blood glucose was assessed each day and scientists found the time-restricted eating improved blood glucose control regardless of which window of time was utilized.
"Our results suggest that modulating when rather than what we eat can improve glucose control,” said associate professor Leonie Heilbronn. “We did see a tiny amount of weight loss in this study, which may have contributed to the results.”
In a companion study that involved an eight-week period, one study participant said he ate his normal diet between 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. "The restricted eating regime was initially challenging, but soon became more manageable," Fred Rochler said. "I only ate up until 7.30 p.m. as I found this worked well with my lifestyle.
“Over the trial, I found that my fasting blood glucose tolerance improved significantly,” Rochler said. “It changed from 'increased risk' level to 'normal'. This was without changing any of the foods that I like to eat."
"Time-restricted eating regimes demonstrate that we can enjoy foods that are perceived to be 'bad' for us, if we eat them at the right time of day, when our bodies are more biologically able to deal with the nutrient load - and perhaps more importantly, if we allow our bodies to have more time fasting each night,” Heilbronn said. “While these early results show some promise for controlling blood glucose, a larger study over a longer duration is required to fully investigate the effectiveness of this pattern of time-restricted eating."
The study was limited to men but it is assumed the same results would be seen in women.