A recent study suggests that skipping dinner could have a positive health effect.
The study, which was presented at the annual Obesity Society meeting in New Orleans, noted that overweight people who eat during the day and skip evening meals have fewer hunger swings and burned more fat at night.
Although this diet plan results in increased fat loss in the evening, it does not appear that it increases the overall fat burnt, thereby making it unclear whether this eating schedule can affect general weight loss.
“At this point, we are not sure whether or not total fat burning is increased,” Courtney Peterson, study lead author, told Medical Daily in an email.
“We will need to do a larger study to find out for certain whether or not [time-restricted feeding] improves fat burning.”
Although the results do not indicate a clear association between nighttime fasting and weight loss, they are still important for the world of nutrition.
For example, Peterson said she was surprised to find that participants did not report being hungrier than average, or have above-average swings in hunger levels, despite fasting daily for 18 hours.
“So we overturned the belief that fasting for longer period each day (when the same number of total calories are eaten) intrinsically makes a person hungrier.”
The effects of fasting and time-restricted feeding have been studied and proven to work in a rodent model, research on human subjects is still in its early stages.
Due to this, Peterson noted that it is far too early to say, with factual evidence as backing, that time-restricted feeding will improve weight loss in humans.
However, she explained that following this eating pattern comes with benefits like reducing overall food intake, and suggested that practicing time-restricted eating a few times a week could be both feasible and healthy.
“It could be used for short-term goals or longer-term goals,” concluded Peterson. “As far as we know, it is safe for adults (is not a crash diet), although pregnant women and children should not try it.”