Time-restricted feeding improves glucose tolerance in men at risk for type 2 diabetes

Restricting the time period during which patients can eat could control blood glucose levels in men at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the journal Obesity.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia assessed the effects of time-restricted eating in 15 men for one week. The men, who were at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, limited their food intake to a nine-hour period per day. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups that undertook time-restricted eating either from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or from noon to 9 p.m. They were instructed to eat their normal diet during this time.

Participants wore a continuous glucose monitor for the duration of the study. Blood glucose response to a standard meal was assessed each day, with glucose, insulin, triglycerides, nonesterified fatty acids, and gastrointestinal hormone incremental areas under the curve calculated following a standard meal before and on the last day of the study.

The researchers found that TRE improved glucose control, regardless of when the men chose to stop eating.

The results, researchers say, suggest that modulating when, rather than what, a patient eats can improve glucose control. The eating pattern also resulted in a small amount of weight loss, the study abstract said, which may have contributed to the results.

The time-restricted eating format is easy for patients to implement and flexible for most lifestyles, researchers say, making it an attractive potential option for practitioners treating type 2 diabetes.