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The benefits of time-restricted eating within a 10-hour window each day were highlighted in a pilot study conducted at the University of California - San Diego. This form of intermittent fasting may help people lose weight, lower their blood pressure and better control insulin levels.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California demonstrated that daily fasting for a period of 10 hours could have beneficial effects on metabolic syndrome. It appears to result in weight loss, better control of blood pressure and insulin levels (1).

The study indicates the importance of fasting in order to rest and prepare the metabolism for the next meal. In actual fact, it is simply a matter of coordinating circadian rhythms with meals.

1| Weight loss of 3%

Metabolic syndrome leads to a 2-fold increase in the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease and a 5-fold increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes (2).

Sometimes it is not possible to reduce these markers simply by eating a healthy diet and increasing the level of exercise. However, the study conducted indicates that introducing an eating window of a maximum of 10 hours can have a positive impact on metabolic syndrome (1).

19 people were included in the study (13 men and 6 women). All of them were allowed to eat at the times of their own choice as long as they respected an eating window of 10 hours.

The cardiologist Dr Pam Taub states that after 12 weeks, the patients included in the study presented weight loss of 3% and abdominal fat loss of almost 4%. A decrease in their blood pressure and cholesterol level was also observed (1). “During periods of prolonged fasting; the body uses glucose reserves then fats as an energy source. This mechanism results in weight loss”, explains Dr Pam.

2|Another effective way of reducing metabolic syndrome

Two other studies conducted in Finland and the USA also suggest a marked improvement in metabolic syndrome using a different approach. The researchers recommend a low-calorie diet and physical activity (3).

The study demonstrated weight loss of around 4% and an approximately 58% reduction in diabetes incidence in obese subjects with insulin resistance (4).

In conclusion, the results of these studies are encouraging and demonstrate that a balanced diet coupled with physical activity or daily fasting for 10 hours without any special diet could be effective ways of reducing metabolic syndrome.

3| Sources

1. Wilkinson MJ et al. Ten-Hour Time-Restricted Eating Reduces Weight, Blood Pressure, and Atherogenic Lipids in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome. Cell Metabolism, 5 December 2019. DOI : 10.1016/j.cmet.2019.11.004.

2. Samson SL et Garber AJ. Metabolic syndrome. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2014 Mar;43(1):1-23. DOI : 10.1016/j.ecl.2013.09.009.

3.Tuomilehto J, Lindstrom J, et al. Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study Group. Prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus by changes in lifestyle among subjects with impaired glucose tolerance. N Engl J Med. 2001 May 3;344(18):1343-50.DOI : 10.1056/NEJM200105033441801.

 4. Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, et al; Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med. 2002 Feb 7;346(6):393-403. DOI : 10.1056/NEJMoa012512