When you eat is almost as important as what you eat! Time restricted feeding (TRF) is often confused with fasting or intermittent fasting. I know I am guilty of using these terms interchangeably! Fasting is when we restrict the amount of food eaten, TRF is when we restrict when we eat but not how much food we consume. I personally have followed TRF on and off for the past 5 years. I find energy, focus and sleep improve when I limit my eating window to at least 12 hours or less per 24 hour period.
As popularity has grown, so too has research. We have several animal studies, a few are linked below, showing benefit. An article published in Cell Metabolism in December of 2019 details a pilot study with participants who have metabolic syndrome. The participants adhered to a 10 hour feeding and 14 hour fasting window per day for three months. The participants were not given any other nutritional advice. Overall results revealed improvement in sleep, reduction in blood pressure, total cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin levels.
I often recommend TRF to my patients as an easy way to improve markers related to metabolic syndrome. I also find sleep improves in patients when they stop eating 2+ hours prior to bedtime.
I have been using the Zero app to easily track my fasting and feeding periods. I like that you can easily adjust your goal fasting/feeding windows and edit start and stop times.
I suspect as research continues we will start to understand just what amount of TRF is optimal for particular conditions and populations. The benefits likely go beyond metabolic syndrome. Stay tuned for more research updates.
Talk to your doctor before implementing TRF as it is not safe for everyone.