Finding the right diet or strategy when it comes to healthy eating can be difficult for many consumers, and now researchers have found that creativity could be key.
According to researchers from The Obesity Society, consumers are more likely to lower their appetite and burn fat if they employ techniques like intermittent fasting or earlier mealtimes.
“Coordinating meals with circadian rhythms, or your body’s internal clock, may be a powerful strategy for reducing appetite and improving metabolic health,” said researcher Eric Ravussin, PhD.
Finding the perfect fit
The researchers had participants complete one of two mealtime options, both of which utilized intermittent fasting in some way, to see how they could best go about leading healthy lifestyles.
In one group, participants ate according to early time-restricted feeding (eTRF), in which all three of their meals were eaten in a six-hour time span, starting at 8:00 AM and ending with dinner at 2:00 PM. Previous research has shown that eTRF allows the body to burn more fat for energy.
The second group of participants ate as most consumers typically do: three meals spread out over the course of twelve hours, starting at 8:00 AM and ending at 8:00 PM.
Both groups followed the same meal plans, and no participants consumed any food outside of their respective eating windows. After four days of following these plans, the researchers were able to test participants’ metabolism and see how much fat they burned, how their appetite levels changed while awake, and other stats.
Overall, the researchers found that the eTRF method was more effective in fighting off hunger and burning fat over the course of the day. The study proves that when consumers eat is just as important as what they eat, as the total calories burned from the eTRF group weren’t incredibly significant, but their reduction in hunger was.
“We suspect that a majority of people may find meal time strategies helpful for losing weight or to maintain their weight since these strategies naturally appear to curb appetite, which may help people eat less,” said Peterson.
Keeping the weight off
Named one of the top weight-loss diets of 2019, intermittent fasting has become an increasingly popular strategy with consumers.
“Occasional fasting forces your body to tap into your fat storage,” writes ConsumerAffairs researcher Kathryn Parkman. “You can eat your normal diet most of the time and then drastically reduce your intake part of the time.”
Not only has it been found to promote positive health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and improving blood lipids, but researchers have also found that it could help prevent the risk of diabetes.
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