Restricting mealtimes to a 10-hour window could boost consumers' health

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Researchers say eating in this way could reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes

With many consumers concerned about diet and exercise, intermittent fasting has become a popular way to maintain healthy habits, especially for those with diabetes.

Now, researchers from the Salk Institute found that keeping mealtimes confined to a 10-hour window of the day, in combination with traditional treatment plans, could help prevent heart disease and diabetes for those struggling with metabolic syndrome. 

“We have found that combining time-restricted eating with medications can give metabolic syndrome patients the ability to better manage their disease,” said researcher Satchidananda Panda. “Unlike counting calories, time-restricted eating is a simple dietary intervention to incorporate, and we found that participants were able to keep the eating schedule.” 

The benefits of time-restricted eating

The researchers focused their study on participants who were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases the risk for a number of other serious conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and high cholesterol, among others. This population was of interest because getting a handle on eating habits could help participants prevent life-threatening health concerns. 

For the first part of the study, the participants self-reported on their eating habits as they would normally eat throughout the day, without any kind of time intervention, for two weeks. 

The next part of the study was introducing the 10-hour eating window, during which the participants continued logging their food, including the times they ate. However, they were restricted to consuming all calories during the 10-hour block. 

Changing eating habits in this way proved to be incredibly beneficial for the participants, as they showed improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. 

Easy and cost-effective

These findings are important, as these factors are all crucial to the development of serious health concerns. Adopting a different eating style, which is a simple intervention, proved to be an effective way for the study participants to maintain healthy vitals and reduce their risk of a number of serious health conditions. 

“Adapting this 10-hour time-restricted eating is an easy and cost-effective method for reducing symptoms of metabolic syndrome and improving health,” said Panda. “By delaying the onset of diabetes by even one year in a million people with prediabetes, the intervention could save roughly 9.6 billion dollars in healthcare costs.” 

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