How To Lose Weight With Time Restricted Feeding

woman eatingThe Salk Institute Study

The Salk Institute published a study in May of 2015, subsequently providing an intriguing new aspect to consider amid the world’s obesity and metabolic syndrome pandemic. The study showed mice limited to eating during an 8-hour period (called “time-restricted feeding” or TRF) to be healthier than mice eating freely throughout the day. After 100 days, the mice who ate frequently gained weight, developed high cholesterol and high blood glucose, showed evidence of liver damage and reduced motor control. The mice who ate in TRF fashion weighed 28% less, showed reduced levels of low-grade inflammation and showed no adverse health effects, despite consuming the same amount and type of food.

Lifestyle modifications such as a nutrient-dense diet and daily physical activity are first-line interventions in the treatment of metabolic syndrome. Much of the research to date has focused on nutrition optimization, as well as small, frequent meals throughout the day for blood sugar stabilization. However, the Salk study suggests that spreading food intake throughout the day may disturb metabolic pathways governed by the circadian clock, just as artificial lighting has been shown to disrupt sleep-wake cycles.

The University of California San Diego Study

Human studies have shown similar outcomes to Salk’s 2015 study. The University of California San Diego studied over 2,000 overweight women to find that TRF (a modified version of intermittent fasting) had positive effects on both blood sugar levels and immune markers. The data revealed each 3-hour increase in nighttime fasting was associated with a 4% decrease in postprandial glucose levels, regardless of how much women ate. Moreover, there was also a reduction in breast cancer risk.

Intermittent Fasting

As stated above, “time restricted feeding” or TRF is a modified version of intermittent fasting. If you’re new to this concept, it is a shift in lifestyle and eating patterns where you simply focus on extending the duration of time between eating. The idea is to clear the metabolic pathways governed by the circadian clock. Besides helping to reduce body fat, here are the major benefits of intermittent fasting:

  • has a dramatic impact on human growth hormone levels, resulting in greater endurance with faster muscle repair and growth
  • may help slow the aging process
  • can help regulate insulin levels, which is key for those who are diabetic or obese

Action Steps to an Intermittent Fasting Program

  1. Start by restricting your feeding time to a 12 or even 10 hour period. For example, eat only between the hours of 7am and 7pm or even 7am and 5pm.
  2. If you’re comfortable, move back to an 8 hour feeding time and monitor your progress.
  3. Limit all artificial lighting after dark. Dim lights, consider replacing your lights with red or amber lighting, use blue blocker glasses when viewing screens and monitors.

Need professional help implementing your own intermittent fasting program? Schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight loss goals now.


The Insulin – Weight Gain Connection

scaleWe are now learning from science that the calorie model for weight loss is not the answer for long term success. Dieters have been finding out for decades that just because they eat less and burn more, it doesn’t always equate to pounds off, especially in the long run. The majority of people gain the weight back that they have worked so hard to lose.

If monitoring calories isn’t the answer for weight loss, then what is? While calories do matter to some degree, hormones matter more.

Why Hormones, Not Calories

To provide just one example about why hormones – not calories – are the key players in weight loss, let’s briefly look at insulin. When you eat sugar of any kind, your pancreas produces this master metabolism hormone.

Insulin’s job is to help sugar get into your cells. Once sugar is in the cells, it can be turned into energy by your mitochondria (the energy-burning factories in your cells). So insulin is designed to help you use the sugar you eat, or, if you eat more than you need, store it for later use.

At its best, the interaction between your insulin level and the sugar in your blood is a finely tuned machine. You eat some sugar, and your body produces just enough insulin to metabolize it. Later you eat a little more sugar, and the same thing happens again. It is a smooth, harmonious cycle that the healthy body carries out every day without your slightest awareness.

Insulin Resistance and It’s Effects

However, problems can occur when there is too much sugar in your diet. When you regularly eat a lot of sugar, especially sugars that are quickly absorbed, the insulin levels in your blood become elevated. Over time, you can become resistant to the effects of insulin and thus need more and more of it to do the same job. This insulin resistance has some very serious health implications as well as a direct impact on your appetite.

Insulin resistance is very much like a drug addiction. When you are addicted to a drug, you develop a tolerance to it and hence need more and more of it to produce the same effect. When you consistently have a high level of insulin in your blood, you develop a tolerance to it. As a consequence, your body’s tissues no longer respond normally to the hormone. Hence, your pancreas produces more of it, elevating your insulin levels even more in your body’s attempt to overcome this resistance.

This turns into a vicious cycle very quickly. When you have more insulin in your blood than you do sugar, your body tells you to eat some sugar to even out the balance. But every time you eat the sugar you cause your insulin levels to go up even more, causing you to want more sugar, and on and on the cycle goes.

In the meantime, you are storing all the excess sugar as fat, slowing down your metabolism, and promoting heart disease, dementia, and cancer. This is a condition known as pre-diabetes. It is also called metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and syndrome X.

Focus On Foods That Normalize Blood Sugar

The key to weight loss, then, becomes focusing on foods that normalize blood sugar and lower insulin levels. If you eat the same amount of calories from broccoli rather than cookies, you will lose weight.

Food is information that controls your gene expression, hormones, and metabolism. The source of the calories (and the information carried along with the calories) makes a gigantic difference in how your genes, hormones, enzymes, and metabolism respond.

If you eat food that spikes your insulin level, you will gain weight. If you eat food that reduces your insulin level, you will lose weight. This is true even if the food contains exactly the same number of calories or grams of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber.

The Only Diet That Science Shows Works

Low-glycemic-load diets are the only diets that have been proven to work— these diets don’t spike blood sugar and insulin.

In a landmark large-scale study, only one diet showed the capacity for maintaining the most weight loss over time. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the easiest diet to maintain, and the one that had the biggest impact on preventing weight gain after people had lost weight, was the low-glycemic-load, higher-protein diet.

When you focus on real, whole, unprocessed foods, you will automatically create a meal that has a low glycemic load. The glycemic load of a meal tells us how much of and how quickly a fixed quantity of a specific food will raise your blood sugar and insulin levels. The slower these levels rise, and the lower they are, the better.

Controlling the glycemic load of your meals isn’t very hard.You need to combine protein, fats, and whole-food, fiber-rich, low-starch carbohydrates from vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and a limited amount of whole grains and low-sugar fruit.

If you would like a personalized approach to the low glycemic diet and a better understanding of how insulin effects you individually, schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight loss goals now.