We’ve long known that intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating (TRE) is good for metabolic health and can help with weight loss.
We have also known that high intensity interval training or HIIT also comes in handy. But now, a groundbreaking new study recently published in the journal Cellular metabolism has found that the combination of the two offers superior results for both weight loss and glucose control in the body.
It’s one of the first published studies to look specifically at weight loss outcomes in overweight and obese women, and while the study only lasted a few weeks, it suggests strict calorie control and plenty of exercise aren’t necessarily required to achieve positive weight loss results.
What did the study do?
The study involved 130 overweight and obese women and was conducted over a seven-week period. During this time, participants were asked to limit their calorie intake to a 10-hour period, minus any specific calorie prescriptions. Or add 10-20 minutes of HITT training three times a week. Or do both.
While all but the control study groups lost weight, the group that combined TRE with HIIT training lost significantly more weight and had better glucose control in this relatively short period of time.
Why is this combination likely to work?
Limiting food intake to fewer hours each day not only tends to result in reduced calorie intake overall, but extending an overnight fast has been shown to have a number of metabolic benefits, especially in those who have impaired metabolism. glucose regulation, insulin resistance, family history of type 2 or gestational diabetes, or some types of PCOS.
Additionally, the time-effective nature of HIIT, as well as the metabolic benefits associated with a training style that actually gets your heart rate up, seem to suit people who can more easily incorporate this into their routine, while still offering metabolic benefits. significant that help improve fat loss results.
What do we still need to know?
This is a relatively short study, lasting only a few weeks, and while weight loss was achieved, it was still in relatively small amounts. We still need to know if the weight loss will continue over a longer period of time.
And whether including a degree of calorie control and macronutrient balance as part of the TRE will improve results or even lead to superior weight loss. We also need to know if the initial losses are sustained over a period of three, six and 12 months before assuming that this is the right weight loss program for overweight women.
What can we learn from these results?
Contrary to popular belief, weight loss doesn’t depend on spending hours pounding the pavement or strict calorie control. Rather, simply extending the number of hours each day that we take a break from eating, ideally in line with our 24-hour circadian rhythm where we eat more calories during the first half of the day and fast overnight for at least 12 hours . And then making sure our heart rate rises occasionally may be enough to induce weight loss in overweight people. Plus, these options are sustainable and easy to fit into today’s busy life where time is of the essence and calories are plentiful.
How can you incorporate these changes and reap the benefits?
Simply waiting an hour or two upon waking, or waiting until you’re really hungry to eat breakfast and then enjoying your final meal within 10 hours will offer a number of long-term benefits for glucose control and even weight.
In the case of exercise, quality is just as important as quantity, and if you can only spend 10-20 minutes in the gym or go for a run a couple of times a week, you can still have an extremely effective workout that will help you. weight loss, especially when combined with TRE daily.
Author susie burrell is a prominent Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of shape meco-host of The Nutrition Couch podcast and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in print and television commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.
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