Scientists Find No Benefit to Time-Restricted Eating
The weight-loss idea is appealing: Limit your eating to a period of six to eight
hours each day, during which you can have whatever you want.
Studies in mice seemed to support so-called time-restricted eating, a form of
the popular intermittent fasting diet. Small studies of people with obesity
suggested it might help shed pounds.
But now, a one-year study in which people followed a low-calorie diet between
the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or consumed the same number of calories
anytime during the day has failed to find an effect.
The bottom line, said Dr. Ethan Weiss, a diet researcher at the
University of California, San Francisco: “There is no benefit to
eating in a narrow window.”
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was
led by researchers at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou,
China, and included 139 people with obesity. Women ate 1,200 to
1,500 calories a day, and men consumed 1,500 to 1,800 calories daily.
To ensure compliance, participants were required to photograph every
bit of food they ate and to keep food diaries.
Both groups lost weight — an average of about 14 to 18 pounds —
but there was no significant difference in the amounts of weight
lost with either diet strategy. There also were no significant
differences between the groups in measures of waist circumference,
body fat and lean body mass.
The scientists also found no differences in such risk factors as
blood glucose levels, sensitivity to insulin, blood lipids or
“These results indicate that caloric intake restriction explained
most of the beneficial effects seen with the time-restricted eating
regimen,” Weiss and his colleagues concluded.
Christopher Gardner, director of nutrition studies at the Stanford
Prevention Research Center, said he wouldn’t be surprised if
time-restricted eating nonetheless worked on occasion.
“Almost every type of diet out there works for some people,”
he said. “But the take-home supported by this new research is
that when subjected to a properly designed and conducted study
— scientific investigation — it is not any more helpful than
simply reducing daily calorie intake for weight loss and health
文／Gina Kolata 譯／莊蕙嘉