If you’ve spent time looking into some of the most effective weight loss strategies for men, you may have heard the terms intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating. While intermittent fasting may be too restrictive or daunting for some, time-restricted eating may be more up your alley, and can work naturally into your daily schedule. Its proponents claim it delivers numerous health benefits — including weight loss, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduced inflammation and improved insulin sensitivity — but what does the research say?1
With so much conflicting information on the internet and developments in evolving research, it can be difficult to get to the bottom of things. Read on as we take an evidence-based approach to understanding the research around time-restricted eating for men, and provide some easy and practical ways you can incorporate it into your daily life.
What is time-restricted eating?
Simply put, time-restricted eating is an eating pattern that involves limiting calorie consumption to a certain time frame, so that your body gets a break from digestion. It typically involves eating all your meals within a 12-hour window and then refraining from food and caloric beverages for the following 12 hours (most of which is spent sleeping). So, if you had your first meal at 8 a.m., you would eat your final meal before 8 p.m., and then wait to enjoy your breakfast the following day until 8 a.m.
The history of time-restricted eating
Believe it or not, time-restricted eating is nothing new. Humans have been unintentionally taking extended breaks from consuming food since the beginning of time — since their next meal was never a guarantee. However, unlike our ancestors, our modern society has access to food 24/7, making late-night snacks and meals an all too common occurrence. Today, it’s easy to eat from the time you wake up until the time you fall asleep — which unfortunately can lead to weight gain and other health concerns.2
How does time-restricted eating work?
Time-restricted eating synchronizes your eating schedule with your natural circadian rhythm, otherwise known as your body’s internal clock. Your circadian rhythm follows a 24-hour cycle, typically divided into two 12-hour periods, which are dictated by daytime and nighttime. To eat in accordance with this rhythm, time-restricted eating involves eating during the day when your metabolism is working most optimally and then refraining from food at night, to allow your body time to rest and recover.
A pilot study conducted on a small group of men found that early time-restricted eating may improve both insulin sensitivity and the pancreas’s ability to respond to rising blood sugar.3 In addition, it found that this type of eating pattern lowered the men’s blood pressure, and reduced their oxidative stress levels and appetite levels in the evening.4 However, more research is needed to conclusively prove these findings.
What are the intended benefits of time-restricted eating for men?
Beyond weight loss and a reduction in appetite levels, there can be other benefits of time-restricted eating for men.
1. Build muscle and lose fat
Studies indicate that a key benefit of following an eating pattern such as time-restricted eating is that body fat tends to decrease while muscle mass is maintained.5 This is because when you give your body a 12-hour or longer break from consuming food, your body starts to burn glucose that is naturally stored in the liver and then turns to burning fat. This helps preserve lean body mass while reducing unwanted fat.6
2. Easy to follow
If you don’t want to follow a complicated calorie counting system in order to lose weight, time-restricted eating might be right up your alley. Forget worrying about counting calories, simply take note of the time you start eating and when you’ll finish. If you want to take meal prep out of the equation, which a recent study conducted on behalf of Jenny Craig found that nine out of 10 people think that it would help with their weight loss, Jenny Craig offers around 100 nutritious, ready-to-go meal options that will help set you up for weight loss success.7
3. Optimize your metabolism
By eating earlier in the day rather than at night, you’ll be working with your metabolism when it’s functioning most efficiently.8 Your metabolism has a predictable curve; it’s most optimal at burning calories in the morning and winds down in the evening as you’re getting ready for sleep. By following an eating routine such as time-restricted eating, you’ll be fueling your body at the right times to further support your weight loss efforts.9
Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, is based on these findings and leverages the body clock’s natural circadian rhythm to help optimize your metabolism and accelerate weight loss.10
If you’re ready to improve your health and work towards achieving your weight loss goals, Jenny Craig can help. Contact us to set up a free appointment to get started today.
 Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 6, 14 June 2016, pp. 1048–1059., doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001
Elisa is a content marketing manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. A San Diego native and an endurance sports enthusiast, you can usually find her swimming, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Chico.
Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple.
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Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig