There is a time to fast,
and a time to eat.
When you think about this from an evolutionary standpoint, it makes
sense. ;ccording to ;cientific ;merican, ;;leep evolved to ensure that
species are not active when they are most vulnerable to predation and
when their food supply is scarce.” Our all-the-time-anytime food availability
is relatively recent. Mark Mattson, a professor of neuroscience at Johns
Hopkins School of Medicine, was quoted in Time magazine saying,
;Natural selection would have favored individuals whose brains and bodies
functioned well in a food-deprived state.” For many of us, our day-to-day
life is at odds with our circadian rhythms.
Rodents are frequently used in research because many of their biological
functions closely mimic those of humans. Recent studies involving TRE in
the journal Cell Metabolism found that rats given unlimited food around
the clock became obese and developed a variety of diseases. Those that
were offered the same number of calories, but only during a 10-hour time
frame, remained healthy and lean. Their insulin sensitivity increased, and
they had lower levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Another TRE study,
performed by researchers at the Salk Institute, found that TRE worked
even if it was practiced only five out of seven days a week. ;o, a weekend
reprieve that still delivers benefits—yippee;
; ;018 study in Nutrition and Healthy ;ging found that in a 1;-week
study of ;; obese volunteers, ;those who followed the time-restricted
eating diet consumed fewer calories, lost weight, and had improvements
in blood pressure. On average, participants consumed about 350 fewer
calories, lost about three percent of their body weight, and saw their
systolic blood pressure decrease by about seven millimeters of mercury.”
The ;merican Heart ;ssociation stated; ;;ntentional eating with mindful
attention to the timing and frequency of eating occasions could lead to
healthier lifestyle and cardiometabolic risk factor management.” Improved
sleep has also been a side reported effect of TRE.
Think about your typical ;eating hours.; ;ince ; work from home, ;’ve
adopted an 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. eating time frame. That provides a 12-hour
fasting period. ;emember that even black coffee—really, anything other
than water—counts as ;food.; When we stop eating earlier in the evening,
we tend to ingest about 20 percent fewer calories since there is no running
to the fridge or pantry at 10 p.m. to eat that Chunky Monkey, pour a glass
of wine, or fill a big bowl with popcorn, so some weight loss usually
follows. This has been a happy side-effect for me. Once you get used to a
12 hour fast/12 hour eating period, try to shave off another hour or two
(the research indicates that eating within an 8 to 10 hour time frame, which
provides a fasting period of 14 to 16 hours is even better), and perhaps
can be an eventual goal.
It does seem, to paraphrase a phrase from the Bible (and a song by the
;yrds;, that there is a time to fast, and a time to eat. ;nd that WH;N we
eat might be as important as WHAT we eat when it comes to our health.
Try watching the clock instead of the scale, and see what happens. You have
nothing to lose (except perhaps some weight), and potentially a lot to win.
Jan Cullinane is an award-winning retirement author, speaker, and consultant.
Her current book is The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (AARP/Wiley).
What can rodents tell us?
What about research using people?
So, how can this information be applied?