Instead of focusing on what you eat – a new healthy eating routine is focused on when you eat! Here’s the low down on time restricted eating…
Many of us eat from the moment we wake up to last thing at night. This can mean our digestive system is overloaded, which can lead to us piling on the calories. Time Restricted Eating or TRE is now starting to gain popularity as a way to control our eating habits
What is Time restricted eating?
TRE is about eating and drinking within a specific time range. And lots of people are achieving good results with very manageable eight to ten-hour eating windows.
And it’s very flexible, so it can fit in with your lifestyle. For example, you could have an eight-hour window that would mean only eating between, say, 10 am and 6 pm each day then not eating or drinking anything – except water – for the remaining 16 hours. Of course, you’d aim to eat well balanced and nutritious food.
As well as losing weight – and keeping it off – converts say they’ve enjoyed reductions in blood sugar and blood pressure as well as a host of other benefits.
Avril’s experience of healthy eating using TRE
RefreshYOU Annandale owner and Head Trainer, Avril Ward, has been doing TRE every day for the past six months.
She says: “I had arthritis in my left thumb and I knew that with intermittent eating the body goes into fasting periods which encourages healing, so I thought I’d give TRE a go.”
Within a few weeks of eating within an eight-hour window of midday to 8pm, Avril found her thumb was less swollen and painful.”
She says: “My arthritis has not gone away, but it is definitely better and the inflammation has reduced.” Avril also finds it’s easier to maintain her weight and with sunrise work-out sessions, it is a lot simpler to get organised in the mornings without having to worry about breakfast!
From time-to-time Avril will eat or drink outside of those hours, but generally it is has become a way of life which she finds easy to maintain.
She says: “It’s hardest in the first couple of weeks as your body is readjusting, but make sure you have pre-prepared healthy snacks on hand and if you have to, you can drink black or green tea or bone broth outside of the eating window.”
Nutritionist, Angela Emmerton of Nutritional Matters suggests starting with a window of 12 hours and then tweaking the ratios according to what works for you. She says: “Females tend to find a 14-hour window works best, but if you start to feel dizzy or have blood sugar imbalances this may not be the right approach for you.”
Angela adds that some people use this system to break mindless eating habits, help maintain body weight, manage metabolic diseases, such as high cholesterol and glucose or simply to give the digestive system a rest.
Studies have suggested that restricting periods to less than six hours is unlikely to offer additional advantages over more extended feeding periods. But for the full benefits, aim for at least 14 hours when you’re not eating or drinking anything except water.
Other recently published findings indicate the strategy delivers many other health benefits, from improving gut microbiome to helping prevent fatty liver disease.
Put simply, TRE works by encouraging cells to switch to burning fat instead of readily available sugars explained the University of Adelaide’s Assoc Professor of Nutrition Science Leonie Heilbronn, who’s conducted a range of human-based trials.
Leonie added that the good results may also have something to do with the fact participants eat in sync with their circadian rhythms. There’s a theory our body clock isn’t only regulated in the brain, there’s a body clock in every tissue, organ and muscle of our bodies. Erratic eating messes with these clocks and could be one of the reasons it’s associated with poorer health.
TRE does seem to make sense. Digestive systems must appreciate a rest and the chance to process their contents as much as any other part of our bodies. It’s also an easy way to avoid common diet pitfalls such as late-night snacking and is a lot simpler than counting calories.
Need to knows
- If you’re frail or recovering from serious illness, if you’re diabetic and taking medication, pregnant or you have a history of disordered eating issues, get the OK from your GP as restricted eating may not be for you
- Know that there will be days when time-restricted eating doesn’t work for you such as a dinner out with friends. Don’t miss out, just go back to your time restricted eating plan next day.
- Make sure you are having enough protein. Generally, the advice is to eat nutritious foods and try to maintain a protein intake of about 1g per kg of body weight to avoid losing muscle.
- Keep exercising – with Time Restricted Eating, there’s no reason why you can’t keep up your usual regime.
Check out RefreshYOU to find your nearest trainer.