A recent study published in Cell Metabolism found that Time Restricted Fasting is effective at reducing weight and blood pressure in overweight participants. Read the full study here -> Ten-Hour Time-Restricted Eating Reduces Weight, Blood Pressure, and Atherogenic Lipids in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome
But first, what is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. It is highly prevalent, affecting 30% of the U.S. population and has reached epidemic proportions. Obesity and lack of exercise are key components of this dangerous condition.
Treating metabolic syndrome is of crucial importance in preventing progression to Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Thus, there is a critical unmet need for lifestyle interventions in metabolic syndrome that are effective, easy for clinicians to teach to patients during routine care, and intuitive for patients to adopt and maintain, either to prevent or work as an ‘‘addon’’ to pharmacological treatment.
Intermittent Fasting Study
During this study, overweight participants were given a 10-hour eating window and restricted to 14 hours of fasting. For example, people could eat their first bite of food at 8 a.m. and consume their last calorie of the day by 6 p.m. Participants were not asked to change their diet but asked simply to limit their eating window to 10 hours and to stay hydrated with water during the fasting window.
Researchers tracked participants for three months and saw a 3% reduction in their weight and a 4% reduction in abdominal visceral fat. Participants consumed on average 8.6% fewer calories — likely a result of the limited eating window. In addition to weight loss, researchers saw improved cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and sleep quality. Many participants also reported having more energy.
In an interview with the study’s researchers, Panda and Taub, were encouraged that this small change in eating time would give participants such a huge benefit. When asked to explain the reduction in belly fat and weight loss seen in participants, Taub explains:
“When you go into a fasting state, you start to deplete the glucose stores in your body and you start to use fat as your energy source,” Taub explains. “You can enter a low-grade state of ketosis.”
And once stored fat is fueling your body, “that can lead to a good amount of weight loss,” Panda says.
While the study was small, the findings offer evidence that daily fasting is effective at treating metabolic syndrome. A larger study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is underway to examine daily fasting in people with metabolic syndrome.
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