Time-restricted eating combined with HITT improves health of women with obesity, study says

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A new study found that combining time-restricted eating (TRE) with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) improved long-term glycemia control and reduced fat mass two times more than the interventions in isolation.

The study was published in Cell Metabolism and led by Trine Moholdt, head of the exercise, cardiometabolic health and reproduction research group at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. Moholdt and his team sought to discover whether TRE and HIIT, two trending methods for losing weight, could help improve health outcomes more when used together.

A total of 131 women were enrolled in the study. Each participant was overweight or had obesity along with risk factors of cardiometabolic disease. Participants were split into four groups. The first group did HIIT alone, the second did TRE alone, the third did TRE and HIIT, and the fourth was a control group. Participants who did TRE were asked to eat all their daily meals within a 10-hour time window. Those who did HIIT had to exercise for 35 minutes at 90 percent maximum heart rate, three times a week. The trial period lasted seven weeks. Exercises were supervised by investigators and participants doing TRE logged their first and last calorie every day.

Before and after the trial period, researchers measured the participants’ blood pressure, body mass index, visceral fat mass, cholesterol levels, blood glucose, and insulin levels.

The results of the investigation showed that those who did HIIT and TRE combined had better long-term glucose control and superior reductions in visceral fat mass compared to those who did TRE and HIIT alone. There were no significant changes in glucose tolerance among the four groups.

According to the study’s authors, these results indicate that TRE and HIIT combined could be a more effective treatment for obesity than either intervention in isolation. In addition, they noted that compared to other weight loss methods, patients may adhere better to TRE and HIIT because they’re simple and time effective.

"We recommend this kind of program for people who wish to have a relatively simple way of changing diet and exercise habits and improving their health," Moholdt said in a statement. "TRE is a less tedious and time-efficient method to lose weight compared with daily calorie counting, and HIIT is tolerable and safe for previously sedentary individuals and can be completed within 30-40 minutes."