‘Early time-restricted eating reduces blood glucose fluctuations’


This representational picture shows a woman checking her blood-glucose levels. — Unsplash/File
This representational picture shows a woman checking her blood-glucose levels. — Unsplash/File

Patients with diabetes may experience anxiety and worry, especially given their fluctuating blood glucose levels. A suitable method for diabetic patients to maintain the balance in their blood glucose levels, however, may have been discovered through research.

According to a recent study that was presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, early time-restricted eating can reduce blood glucose fluctuations.

Researchers claim that this kind of intermittent fasting can lessen the amount of time that blood glucose levels are elevated in their findings, which have not been peer-reviewed yet.

“Our research shows that just one week of following this diet strategy reduces fluctuations in blood sugar levels and reduces the time that the blood sugar is elevated above normal levels,” Dr. Joanne Bruno, a study author and an endocrinology fellow at NYU Langone Health in New York, said in a press statement.

He added that early time-restricted feeding may help individuals with prediabetes or obesity maintain normal blood sugar levels and prevent type 2 diabetes progression.

According to Medical News Today, an eating style known as early time-restricted feeding limits eating to just the first 6 to 8 hours of the day.

The researchers designed a study in which they compared early time-restricted eating with a typical diet pattern to determine the effect of this type of dieting on blood glucose levels.

Ten participants with prediabetes or obesity were randomly assigned to either the usual feeding pattern group (50%) or the early time-restricted group (80%). They followed the diet for 7 days before switching to the alternative approach. Researchers used continuous glucose monitoring, and glucose tolerance tests were conducted.

For the entire two weeks of the study, according to the researchers, the participants’ weight remained constant. Comparing the early time-restricted feeding method to the regular eating pattern, the amount of time spent above the normal blood glucose range was reduced.

“Eating the majority of one’s calories earlier in the day reduces the time that the blood sugar is elevated, thereby improving metabolic health,” Bruno said.

If early time-restricted feeding could be used as a successful intervention strategy for lowering blood glucose levels, more research is required, according to the researchers.

The positives

Dr Pouya Shafipour, a family and obesity medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Centre, supports his recommendations for time-restricted eating. 

According to him, studies show that prolonged fasting and time-restricted eating improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels, extending ketosis and stabilising blood sugar control.

Early, time-restricted feeding is just one form of intermittent fasting. Other examples include the 5:2 diet, which involves eating normally for five days of the week and eating only 500 to 600 calories on two days of the week.

Another method is the 16:8 diet, which involves fasting for 16 hours and eating only within an 8-hour window.

How does early time-restricted eating help?

Dr Marilyn Tan, an endocrinologist at Stanford University, suggests that eating most calories in the early part of the day may provide an opportunity for physical activity after eating.

She believes that people are more active during the day, leading to a better glucose response. The timing of time restriction is also a significant factor, with studies suggesting that earlier time windows have metabolic benefits beyond just later in the day.

Dr. Anne Peters, an endocrinologist at Keck Medicine at USC, believes that time-restricted eating can be beneficial for cardio-metabolic health, but it should be done under the guidance of a physician.

Furthermore, it is important to avoid dehydration and drink non-sugary fluids. These time-restricted eating approaches work best when people are consistent and choose the best time for themselves.

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