In the modern 24-hour society, people often have access to food at all hours and have disrupted day-night rhythms due to irregular sleep-activity patterns and exposure to artificial light sources.
In Western nations, people also tend to spread their daily food intake over a minimum of 14 hours, often avoiding a true nocturnal fasting state. These factors can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Time-Restricted Eating: A Novel Strategy
Scientists from Maastricht University have found that time-restricted eating can benefit metabolic health in people with type 2 diabetes.
This protocol limits food intake to a maximum 10-hour window during the day and helps to restore the cycle of daytime eating and prolonged fasting during the evening and night.
The study involved 14 participants with type 2 diabetes, aged between 50 and 75 years, and with a body mass index (BMI) ≥25 kg/m2.
It consisted of two 3-week intervention periods: time-restricted eating and control, separated by a wash-out period of at least 4 weeks.
During the time-restricted eating period, participants were instructed to eat their normal diet within a 10-hour window during the daytime and to complete their food intake by no later than 6:00 in the evening.
The team found that time-restricted eating decreased 24-hour blood sugar levels, primarily as a result of lower night blood sugar.
Morning fasting blood sugar was consistently lower among the time-restricted eating group than those on the control diet.
No serious adverse effects were reported, indicating that a 10-hour eating window is a safe and effective lifestyle intervention for adults with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers concluded that a daytime 10-hour time-restricted eating regimen for 3 weeks decreases blood sugar levels and prolongs the time spent in the normal blood sugar range in adults with type 2 diabetes.
This suggests that dietary interventions like time-restricted eating can play an important role in managing type 2 diabetes.
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