During a 10-week study on 'time-restricted feeding' (a form of intermittent fasting), researchers led by Dr Jonathan Johnston from the University of Surrey investigated the impact changing meal times has on dietary intake, body composition and blood risk markers for diabetes and heart disease.
Participants were split into two groups - those who were required to delay their breakfast by 90 minutes and have their dinner 90 minutes earlier, and those who ate meals as they would normally. Participants were required to provide blood samples and complete diet diaries before and during the 10-week intervention and complete a feedback questionnaire immediately after the study.
Researchers found that those who changed their mealtimes lost on average more than twice as much body fat as those in the control group, who ate their meals as normal. If these pilot data can be repeated in larger studies, there is potential for time-restricted feeding to have broad health benefits.
Although there were no restrictions on what participants could eat, researchers found that those who changed their mealtimes ate less food overall than the control group. As part of the study, researchers also examined if fasting diets are compatible with everyday life and long-term commitment.
Dr Jonathan Johnston, said, "Although this study is small, it has provided us with invaluable insight into how slight alterations to our meal times can have benefits to our bodies. Reduction in body fat lessens our chances of developing obesity and related diseases, so is vital in improving our overall health."
The full findings are present in the Journal of Nutritional Science...