For those of you who have seen me in clinic, you know that this is a topic near and dear to my heart and can be a powerful tool in improving our health. More and more science is confirming that timing is important in terms of our metabolic health. When we eat can be a powerful tool we use to manipulate the hormones involved in fat storage, inflammation and insulin resistance, and ultimately many chronic diseases.
One of the best studies done to illustrate the power of timing was highlighted in a recent New York Times article.
In this published study, and this easier-to-read peer review of the study, the researchers split mice into two groups and fed both of them the same food, same amount of calories, all identical. The difference was that one group got to graze on that food and had no time restrictions. The second group got to eat the same amount and type of food, but in time-restricted windows such as eating their food in an 8 hour period.
The results were impressive. The group that ate in a time restricted window did not gain weight, but the group that grazed on food all day without any time restrictions did gain weight. Same food, same amount of calories, but different timing and very different outcomes.
The studies involving human time restricted eating are mainly from observational studies. But the data generally supports the hypothesis that consuming energy earlier in the day, avoiding later evening eating, and prolonging the nightly fasting interval may reduce the risk of several common chronic diseases, improve biomarkers, and help with weight loss. Said a different way: The burger eaten in the evening produces an elevated insulin response compared to the burger eaten at noon.
One of the hormone Insulin's main job is to tell our bodies to store fat and most of us want to reduce that message when possible. So - we can influence the amount of insulin by the timing of ourmeals.
It's all about the insulin!