This topic was never one that I was that interested in until recently. I have been hearing a lot about it from podcasts & from one of my close friends. The podcast that really sparked my interest was Joe Rogan's podcast with guest Dr. Rhonda Patrick. She is pretty awesome to listen to as she has so much knowledge & I really enjoy reading & listening to things on her site www.foundmyfitness.com.
Anyways! So this has been something that I have been trying to incorporate into my lifestyle & although challenging at times (especially when I am up super early or stay up late!), it has been pretty cool to see the benefits such as increased energy, stomach steadiness & increased metabolism. I just wanted to give an overview of this as there is SO much I could take about with this. Instead, I'll leave a few links for those of you who want to do more research on your own :)
What is Time-Restricted Feeding (TRF)?
TRF is eating all of your meals within a certain time period. Research has shown profound effects on an increase in lean muscle mass (even without exercise) & a decrease in blood glucose levels. Ideally you are intaking all of your food (even coffee or tea!) within a 9-12 hour period.
What is the Science Behind TRF?
As humans, we are meant to be awake during the day & asleep at night. Because of this, our internal system is on a time clock. Consuming anything (other than water) in the morning starts the metabolic enzymes in your liver & gut. Some people think that consuming coffee or tea is okay, BUT caffeine & even herbs are xenobiotics (substances that are foreign to the body) & require enzymes to break them down.. so even those start the clock!
These enzymes are on a 12-hour clock & during these 12 hours, our body does a good job metabolizing glucose & fatty acids. Our metabolizing enzymes begin to shut down after these 12 hours, so when you consume something beyond this time frame, you become insulin insensitive - meaning our body's cells don't respond normally to insulin & glucose can't enter the cells properly, so it leads to excess glucose in the blood. Now if this is happening occasionally, it's not a big deal, but on a regular basis, this can eventually lead to Type II Diabetes. And studies show that most people eat through a 15-16 hour time period, meaning that puts a lot of people at risk of eventually getting this disease as well as others... Scary!
Benefits of Time-Restricted Feeding
Decreases Fat Gain without affecting Caloric Intake
Of course the type of diet you are eating plays a factor in this! Those who eat unhealthy, high-processed foods that are low in nutrients, will be at a much higher risk of gaining fat, but studies show that just by cutting your feeding window to less than 12 hours will provide benefits (including fat loss) without changing your diet. BUT of course, eating a healthier diet will provide more effective results!
Increases Lean Muscle Mass & Endurance
Above I mentioned fat loss... basically if you eat a good diet & you don't do TRF, you may not gain fat, but there are other benefits of TRF you are missing out on. One of these is increased lean muscle mass (without exercise, what?!) & an increase in endurance. The benefits of endurance will become present more so if you stick to even a 9-10 hour window.
Reduces Fat Accumulation & Whole Body Inflammation
The accumulation of fat in adipose tissue has been associated with higher inflammation in the body & a consistent TRF diet has been shown to decrease total triglycerides in the liver.
Improves Glucose Tolerance & Reduces Insulin Resistance
This is very important when we talk diabetes & the prevention of it. Not only does it prevent insulin resistance & diabetes, but it has been shown to actually REVERSE previously established glucose intolerance!
Safely Reduces IGF-1 Levels & Reduces Cancer
IGF-1 is a growth hormone that is important for our bodies to function, but can also be dangerous when talking cancer growth. TRF has shown to safely reduce these levels & decrease the risk of cancer or the risk of relapse.
So What Now?
I know this was a lot of info & I didn't even go into specific details! But I wanted to spark your interest in this & get you thinking about your eating schedule. Also, keep in mind, that you don't have to be perfect. You can not do this up to 2 days a week & still reap benefits of it! So keep that in mind for your late night work functions or social events - it's okay to enjoy something late at night occasionally!
Here are some tips for incorporating TRF in your regular routine.
- Aim for 12 hours - although 9-10 is ideal, 12 is still very beneficial & much more doable!
- Wait a little longer in the morning to eat breakfast if you work late or hit the gym after work
- Drink warm water in the morning in replace of your coffee or tea - just to hold you over until you want your time to start!
- Go to bed earlier! This will help you resist snacking & drinking wine (guilty!) late at night
- Prep your dinner so you have it ready as soon as you get home & don't have to be cooking at 8pm :)
- Bring your breakfast to work with you & eat it just a bit later than you normally would
- Start a 12 hour timer on your phone when you consume your first thing (except water)
- Track your energy levels, body fat % & weight & see how this works for you!
Here are some links for your further reading/listening :)
Let me know if you have any questions or comments!!