Scientists have figured out how to lose fat without dieting
Apparently you can shed kilos by just changing when you eat instead of what you eat
Changing when you eat breakfast and dinner will help you lose body fat without restricting your diet, an experimental study suggests.
People who delayed breakfast and advanced dinner, while eating freely, lost on average more than twice as much body fat as people who didn’t change their meal times, in the 10-week trial in the UK.
Study co-author Dr Jonathan Johnston, from the University of Surrey in the UK, said: “Although there were no restrictions on what participants could eat, those who changed their mealtimes ate less food overall than the control group.”This reduction in food intake, combined with a longer “fasting” period overnight, could have contributed to their loss in body fat.
Every participant in the restricted eating window ate less because of “reduced appetite, decreased eating opportunities or a cutback in snacking (particularly in the evenings)”, the report showed.
On average there was about 25% reduction in energy intake (around 8750KJ/2,188 calories per day to 6,500KJ/1,622 calories per day).
Sixteen healthy and overweight individuals were recruited for the trial, with nine of them for the active intervention. Seven of them completed the intervention which required delaying breakfast by 90 minutes and advancing dinner by 90 minutes, overall reducing their “eating window” by four and a half hours a day on average.
“Before the time restriction, average breakfast time was about 7.30am to 8am, whereas average dinner was around 8pm to 9pm). Afterwards, the first meal was in the 9am-10am range, with the last meal around 6pm to 7pm.”
This month another small study in the US found that daily “fasting” from 6pm to 10am led to weight loss in obese individuals. During that time they could only drink water or calorie-free beverages.University of Illinois researchers found that it also lowered the blood pressure of the participants in the “time-restricted eating” trial over 12 weeks, who on average consumed 350 fewer calories over 24 hours.
Participants in the UK trial, however, said they would not have been able to sustain this long term because the times were incompatible with family and social life. If meal times were more flexible, 43% said they would consider continuing this routine.
The “time-restricting feeding” study also tested how this affected diet, body composition and blood risk markers for diabetes and heart disease. The metabolic changes were not significant.
Johnston, based in Chronobiology and Integrative Physiology at the University of Surrey, said: “Although this study is small, it has provided us with invaluable insight into how slight alterations to our meal times can have benefits to our bodies.“Reduction in body fat lessens our chances of developing obesity and related diseases, so is vital in improving our overall health.”
He said the team would now design larger, more comprehensive studies on time-restricted feedings based on their findings.
The Journal of Nutritional Sciences published the research on Wednesday.
The concept of short-term fasting is growing in popularity as a tool to lose body fat and gain longevity.
In 2015, research on a five-day semi-fast – which did restrict what people ate to plants and 700 calories a day, but only for five days – showed significant health benefits.That “fasting-mimicking” diet, tested by the Longevity Institute of the University of Southern California, was found to boost immunity and rejuvenate the immune system.
Institute director and study co-author, Professor Valter Longo, said that fasting for more than three days seemed to switch the body into anti-ageing and repair mode and trigger the burning of abdominal fat.
A big fan of this regimen, he said at the time: “I have tried it, my whole family has tried it and the whole department. We are like guinea pigs testing it.”Even though mice in a similar experiment would overeat after their five days of deprivation, the health benefits of their semi-fast remained.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to be as effective as constant dieting in protecting the heart and losing weight said dietician Irene Labuschagne, of the Nutrition Information Centre at Stellenbosch University.
This includes alternate-day fasting, in which dieters cut back to about a quarter of their normal intake every other day.