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Lose Fat: Schedule Your Meals

We’ve heard a lot of discussion of fasting in general and intermittent fasting in particular, with an appropriate but confusing array of intermittent fasting options.

"Should I fast 24 hours twice a week?" It works for some. "Should I fast 36 hours once a week?" Ditto. "How about …?" It’s safe to say that pretty much any way you can think of limiting your hours of food consumption will benefit you in a variety of ways: body fat, insulin and lipid markers, gut health, and even brain function. Anecdotal benefits have been shared widely on social media and research benefits are accumulating, both in research on the specific benefits and in research on circadian rhythm.

Here’s the latest study I’ve found, though it comes from last year. Researchers divided 34 resistance-trained (weight-lifting) men into two groups. Each group ate the exact same amount of calories, divided identically into carbs, protein and fat.

  • One group however, ate all their meals at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and fasted for 16 hours a day.
  • The other group ate at 8 a.m., 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., fasting for a little under 12 hours a day.

Followed for eight weeks, the time-restricted eaters lost fat, gained muscle, and normalized several markers of metabolic health. (As you know, it doesn’t exactly matter how much you weigh:  what matters is how much body fat you have. Lose body fat, gain muscle and keep an equal weight = good news!)

Have you tried intermittent fasting? I like a 12-14 hour overnight fast, and a rare longer fast. Should I try a longer one on purpose?

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