If you’re looking to get rid of a few kilos of excess fat, but don’t want to eat less or move more, then you’re searching for the impossible according to old-fashioned nutritionists. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies think differently. They think it is possible to lose weight without eating less food. If you eat your food within a shorter period of time.
The concept that the Salk researchers publish about in Cell Metabolism is not new. Martin Berkhan of LeanGains.com and Ori ‘Warrior Diet’ Hofmekler [[warriordiet.com] have been experimenting with this for years, and with success. It’s called intermittent fasting: instead of eating during a period of 16 hours within each 24 hours (i.e. when you’re not asleep), you confine your eating to an 8-hour period. Or even less.
The idea behind intermittent fasting is that people are programmed by evolution to be searching for food for most of the day, and only to consume it at the end of the day. With the modern food industry we no longer do this. We snack and eat all day long.
Humans are actually excellent at burning stored fatty acids, but if we want to develop this mechanism we need a longer fasting period than the eight hours we spend in bed each day. That’s why intermittent fasting helps fat loss, and often leads to more physical and mental energy too.
The researchers tested the theory on mice. They were given ordinary feed [N] or calorie-rich feed containing extra fat [F]. The mice in half of both groups were allowed to eat whenever they wanted [A], the others were only allowed to eat during an 8-hour period.
After about four months the FA mice had put on a lot of weight. The mice that had eaten the same food, but had fasted for 16 hours a day were considerably slimmer. But the FA and the FT mice had all consumed the same amount of calories. The researchers found a similar, but smaller, difference in the mice that had been given normal food.
The T-groups burned more calories. So you burn more calories if you confine your eating in a 24-hour period to a relatively short ‘food window’.
Intermittent fasting reduces the production of inflammatory factors in the fat tissue and increases insulin sensitivity, the researchers discovered. As a result, the organs and muscles absorb more nutrients from the bloodstream after meals.
“More studies are necessary to define the relationship between temporal eating and obesity in humans”, the researchers conclude. “The results presented in our study with mice suggest that tRF could be a nonpharmacological intervention in humans that could prevent obesity and its associated metabolic disorders.”