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How time-restricted eating could lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease

According to a recent study, aligning our daily habit of when we eat with the body's internal clock can optimise health 

You can drink black coffee while fasting 
You can drink black coffee while fasting  (Pexels)

Hugh Jackman swears by it, as does Vanessa Hudgens, Chris Hemsworth and Jack Dorsey. Intermittent fasting is here to stay, and why not? It promises weight loss or maintenance, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and less inflammation, among other things. A new study published in Endocrine Reviews claims that it also helps prevent chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

There are several ways to intermittent fast. Some of them include time-restricted eating, the 5:2 diet where you usually eat for five days and eat only 500 calories the other two and the Eat Stop Eat diet, which involves 24-hour fasts a couple of times a week. This study claims eating your calories within a consistent 8–10-hour window is a powerful strategy to prevent disease. According to the study, recent research has revealed that genes, hormones and metabolism rise and fall at different times of the 24-hour day. "Aligning our daily habit of when we eat with the body's internal clock can optimize health and reduce the risk or disease burden of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and liver disease," stated the study. 

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One of the study's authors, Satchidananda Panda, PhD, of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, pointed out that eating at random times breaks the synchrony of our internal program and makes us prone to diseases. "People who are trying to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle should pay more attention to when they eat as well as what they eat. Time-restricted eating is an easy-to-follow and effective dietary strategy that requires less mental math than counting calories," he said. "Intermittent fasting can improve sleep and a person's quality of life as well as reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease." 

Perhaps the most significant benefit of time-restricted eating is the relative ease with which it can be followed. It could be as simple as pushing breakfast back by a couple of hours and having an early dinner with a small meal or snack in-between. In your fasting window, only water or zero-calorie drinks like black coffee or green tea are allowed. Since you're eating less frequently, your main meals could be slightly bigger, leaving you more satiated. Of course, the rules of eating right still apply fruits and vegetables, whole grains, enough protein and good fat at least 80% of the time with an occasional treat. But eating this way can help moderate your overall calorific intake and simplify your life. "Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle that anyone can adopt. It can help eliminate health disparities and lets everyone live a healthy and fulfilling life," agreed Dr Panda. 

Also read: What your balance can tell you about your life expectancy



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