It’s not what you eat, but when you eat that counts

Jan 02, 2020
Sticking to a 10-hour eating window could be the key to keeping the weight off. Source: Getty

Despite our best efforts, most of us probably packed on a few extra kilos these holidays.

There’s no doubt that the abundance of calorie-dense and nutrient-poor foods is partly responsible for the aforementioned weight gain.

But, if you want to avoid the holiday weight gain next year, I might have the solution.

Simply sticking to a 10-hour eating window could be the key to keeping the weight off. New research published in the journal Cell Metabolism looked into the heath benefits of time-restricted eating. Basically, the research suggests eating between the hours of 8am and 6pm.

Just like sleep is important for our health, it’s also important to give our gastrointestinal tract rest for exactly the same purpose. Unfortunately, a lot of people eat their last meal quite late and often indulge in midnight snacks or nibble away at processed foods while watching television. Highly processed cereals consumed in the morning also contribute to this issue.

However, it’s really important to understand that every organ in the body works on a biological clock and needs to have important down time.

For the study, participants were asked to eat all their meals during a 10-hour window for 12 weeks. They chose their own time frame with minimal variation throughout the period. All of the participants in the study had metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that often occur together and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. Metabolic syndrome is the medical sign of the insulin resistance gene which occurs in 30 per cent of Caucasians, 50 per cent of Asians and close to 100 per cent of people with dark or olive skin.

After the 12-week-period, the participants reduced their caloric intake by 9 per cent, lost 3 per cent of their body weight and had much better sleep. There was also a reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. This occurred with no change in physical activity.

So, rather than burning the candle at both ends over the Christmas break next time, see this as an opportunity to improve your habits, giving those vital organs a rest. It appears that a 10-hour eating window is the sweet spot!

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and information purposes only. It does not take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. It is not personalised health advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any decisions about your health or changes to medication, diet and exercise routines you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from a medical professional.

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