Timed fasting is the best way for individuals with diabetes to lose weight.

Timed fasting is the best way for individuals with diabetes to lose weight.

Time-Restricted Eating: A Simple Way to Lose Weight for Type 2 Diabetes patients

By Cara Murez, HealthDay Reporter

Type 2 diabetes has become a prevalent health issue worldwide, often associated with obesity and significant challenges in weight management. However, a new study suggests that a unique approach called time-restricted eating could be an effective strategy for weight loss in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

The concept of time-restricted eating involves restricting eating to specific times of the day, typically within a specific time window. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that individuals with type 2 diabetes who practiced time-restricted eating between noon and 8 p.m. experienced greater weight loss compared to those who counted calories. These findings were presented at the American Society for Nutrition meeting in Boston.

Vicky Pavlou, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and one of the researchers, highlighted the benefits of time-restricted eating, stating, “Many people find counting calories very hard to stick to in the long term, but our study shows that watching the clock may offer a simple way to decrease calories and lose weight.”

Although time-restricted eating is gaining popularity, this study is the first to explore the effects of an eight-hour eating window in people with type 2 diabetes. Previous research had primarily focused on individuals with obesity. Type 2 diabetes often coexists with obesity, making it a crucial target for effective weight management.

The study, conducted by Krista Varady, a professor of nutrition at UIC, involved 75 participants ranging in age from 18 to 80. The participants were divided into three groups: time-restricted eating, calorie restriction, and a control group. The time-restricted eating group could only eat between noon and 8 p.m., while the calorie restriction group could eat at any time but aimed to reduce their calorie intake by 25% compared to the amount needed to maintain their current weight. The control group ate their normal diet.

Over a six-month period, the time-restricted eating group showed promising results, losing an average of 3.55% of their body weight. In contrast, the calorie restriction group did not experience any significant weight loss. Both the time-restricted eating and calorie restriction groups showed improvement in blood sugar levels (HbA1C) compared to the control group.

It is essential to note that the weight loss achieved in this study did not reach the optimal 5% threshold typically necessary for substantial improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors. Researchers attributed this limitation to the fact that participants were already taking cholesterol and blood pressure medications, which can make it challenging to achieve significant weight loss and improve these risk factors simultaneously.

Despite this limitation, the study provides valuable insight into the potential benefits of time-restricted eating for individuals with type 2 diabetes looking to lose weight and improve their blood sugar levels. However, it is crucial for individuals with type 2 diabetes to consult with healthcare professionals, such as dietitians or doctors, when implementing a time-restricted eating approach due to various types of diabetes medications that require careful consideration.

Time-restricted eating offers a promising alternative to counting calories, which can be challenging to sustain over the long term. By following a structured eating schedule, individuals with type 2 diabetes could potentially achieve healthier weight management and better blood sugar control. Further research is necessary to explore the long-term effects and broader applicability of time-restricted eating in this population.

It is important to note that the findings presented at medical conferences are considered preliminary until they undergo thorough evaluation and subsequent publication in peer-reviewed journals.

More information The U.S. National Institute on Aging provides further insights into intermittent fasting and its potential benefits for various health conditions.

SOURCES: American Society for Nutrition, news release, July 24, 2023