Time-restricted eating (TRE) is a popular dietary strategy that restricts food intake to within a defined window of time. People who use TRE often find that they eat less without intentionally restricting food intake. This study examined the effects of TRE in physically inactive and adults with overweight or obesity who performed a concurrent exercise program.
In an 8-week randomized controlled trial, 21 adults with overweight or obesity were randomized to a TRE or normal eating (NE) diet group. The TRE group ate all of their calories between 12:00 pm and 8:00 pm, whereas the NE participants maintained their normal dietary habits. The TRE participants were instructed to consume only water, black coffee, or tea during the 16-hour fasting window. Both groups completed aerobic exercise and supervised resistance training during the intervention. Body composition, muscle performance, and biomarkers were assessed before and after the trial.
The NE and TRE groups had similar restrictions in energy intake over the course of the intervention, with TRE consuming 300 fewer kcal/day (a 14.5% decrease from baseline) and NE consuming 250 fewer kcal/day (a 11.4% decrease from baseline). In spite of the small difference in energy intake, the TRE group lost more body weight (3.3%) than the NE group (0.2%) after the intervention, and the TRE group had significantly more fat loss (9.0%) than the NE group (3.3%). Lean mass increased by a similar extent in both groups, with no significant differences between groups. These results suggest that TRE and concurrent exercise are an effective strategy for reducing body fat and increasing lean mass in individuals with overweight or obesity.
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