Changes in breakfast and dinner timings can reduce body fat

August 29, 2018, University of Surrey
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Modest changes to breakfast and dinner times can reduce body fat, a new pilot study in the Journal of Nutritional Sciences reports.

During a 10-week study on 'time-restricted feeding' (a form of intermittent fasting), researchers led by Dr. Jonathan Johnston from the University of Surrey investigated the impact changing meal times has on dietary intake, body composition and blood risk markers for diabetes and heart disease.

Participants were split into two groups—those who were required to delay their breakfast by 90 minutes and have their dinner 90 minutes earlier, and those who ate meals as they would normally (the controls). Participants were required to provide blood samples and complete diaries before and during the 10-week intervention and complete a feedback questionnaire immediately after the study.

Unlike previous studies in this area, participants were not asked to stick to a strict diet and could eat freely, provided it was within a certain eating window. This helped researchers assess whether this type of diet was easy to follow in .

Researchers found that those who changed their mealtimes lost on average more than twice as much body fat as those in the control group, who ate their meals as normal. If these pilot data can be repeated in larger studies, there is potential for time-restricted feeding to have broad health benefits.

Although there were no restrictions on what participants could eat, researchers found that those who changed their mealtimes ate less food overall than the . This result was supported by questionnaire responses which found that 57 percent of participants noted a reduction in food intake either due to reduced appetite, decreased eating opportunities or a cutback in snacking (particularly in the evenings). It is currently uncertain whether the longer fasting period undertaken by this group was also a contributing factor to this reduction in body fat.

As part of the study, researchers also examined if fasting diets are compatible with everyday life and long term commitment. When questioned, 57 percent of participants felt they could not have maintained the new meal times beyond the prescribed 10 weeks because of their incompatibility with family and social life. However, 43 per cent of participants would consider continuing if eating times were more flexible.

Dr. Jonathan Johnston, Reader in Chronobiology and Integrative Physiology at the University of Surrey, said:

"Although this study is small, it has provided us with invaluable insight into how slight alterations to our meal times can have benefits to our bodies. Reduction in fat lessens our chances of developing obesity and related diseases, so is vital in improving our overall health.

"However, as we have seen with these , fasting diets are difficult to follow and may not always be compatible with family and social life. We therefore need to make sure they are flexible and conducive to real life, as the potential benefits of such diets are clear to see.

"We are now going to use these preliminary findings to design larger, more comprehensive studies of time-restricted feeding".

Explore further: Are fasting diets effective and safe for losing weight?

Related Stories

Are fasting diets effective and safe for losing weight?

August 17, 2018
Although traditional reduced-calorie diets are a science-based way to lose weight, intermittent fasting is a good alternative that studies suggest is just as beneficial.

Daily fasting works for weight loss

June 18, 2018
Daily fasting is an effective tool to reduce weight and lower blood pressure, according to a new study published by University of Illinois at Chicago researchers in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging.

Is fasting a diet solution?

May 23, 2018
(HealthDay)—Research shows that fasting on alternate days has health benefits, including lowering the amount of inflammation in the body.

Fasting diets reduce important risk factor for cardiovascular disease

March 19, 2018
Intermittent energy restriction diets such as the 5:2 diet clears fat from the blood quicker after eating meals compared with daily calorie restriction diets, reducing an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, ...

eTRF improves blood sugar control and blood pressure, pilot study says

May 11, 2018
A new pilot study conducted by UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences Assistant Professor Courtney Peterson, Ph.D., shows that eating early in the daytime and fasting for the rest of the day improves blood sugar control, blood ...

World-first study shows benefits of 5:2 diet for people with diabetes

July 23, 2018
People with type 2 diabetes are just as likely to lose weight and control their blood glucose levels if they follow a 5:2 diet than an ongoing daily calorie-restricted diet, according to a world-first study by University ...

Recommended for you

Survey reveals how we use music as a possible sleep aid

November 14, 2018
Many individuals use music in the hope that it fights sleep difficulties, according to a study published November 14 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Tabitha Trahan of the University of Sheffield, UK, and colleagues. ...

Colder, darker climates increase alcohol consumption and liver disease

November 14, 2018
Where you live could influence how much you drink. According to new research from the University of Pittsburgh Division of Gastroenterology, people living in colder regions with less sunlight drink more alcohol than their ...

Want to cut down on your meds? Your pharmacist can help.

November 14, 2018
Pharmacists are pivotal in the process of deprescribing risky medications in seniors, leading many to stop taking unnecessary sleeping pills, anti-inflammatories and other drugs, a new Canadian study has found.

No accounting for these tastes: Artificial flavors a mystery

November 13, 2018
Six artificial flavors are being ordered out of the food supply in a dispute over their safety, but good luck to anyone who wants to know which cookies, candies or drinks they're in.

Your heart hates air pollution. Portable filters could help

November 13, 2018
Microscopic particles floating in the air we breathe come from sources such as fossil fuel combustion, fires, cigarettes and vehicles. Known as fine particulate matter, this form of air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular ...

Simple tips can lead to better food choices

November 13, 2018
A few easily learned tips on eating and food choice can increase amount of healthy food choices between 5 percent and 11 percent, a new Yale University study has found.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

granville583762
5 / 5 (2) Sep 01, 2018
Changing eat time was not the cause of weight loss, they lost weight because they ate less and the snacking reduces the hunger pangs and increases digestion - these are well known weight loss techniques because the snacking prevent the body reverting to famine conditions where it reduces metabolism and it starts eating muscle because its hungry, the BMI of 18.5 effect where you become twiggy

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.