The Benefits of Early Time-Restricted Eating

The Benefits of Early Time-Restricted Eating
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Calories eaten in the morning count less and are healthier than calories eaten in the evening.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Time-restricted feeding, where you try to squeeze the same amount of eating into a narrow evening window, has benefits compared to eating in the evening and earlier in the day—but also has adverse effects, because you’re eating so much so late.

The best of both worlds was demonstrated in 2018—time-restricted feeding into a narrow window earlier in the day. Individuals randomized to eat the same food, but just in an 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. eating window, experienced a drop in blood pressures, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance— even when all the study subjects were maintained at the same weight. Same food, same weight, but with different results. The drops in blood pressures were extraordinary: from 123/82 down to 112/72 in five weeks—comparable to the effectiveness of potent blood-pressure drugs.

The longest study to date on time-restricted feeding only lasted 16 weeks: a pilot study with no control group that only involved eight people. But the results are still worth noting. Overweight individuals who, like most of us, were eating more than 14 hours a day, were instructed to stick to a consistent 10- to 12-hour feeding window of their own choosing. On average, they were able to successfully reduce their daily eating duration by about 4.5 hours, and within 16 weeks they had lost seven pounds. They also reported feeling more energetic, and sleeping better. This may help explain why all participants voluntarily expressed their interest in continuing the time-restricted feeding on their own, even after the study ended. You don’t often see that after weight loss studies. Even more remarkably, eight months later, they retained their weight loss and improved energy and sleep. At the one-year point, maintained their boosted energy and sleep, and kept the weight off, all from one of the simplest of interventions: just telling people to stick to a consistent 10- to 12-hour feeding window of their own choosing

How did it work? Even though they weren’t told to change nutrition quality or quantity, they appeared to unintentionally eat hundreds of fewer calories a day. With self-selected time frames, you wouldn’t necessarily think to expect circadian benefits, but because subjects were asked to keep the eating window consistent throughout the week, “metabolic jetlag could be minimized.” The thinking is that because people tend to start their days later on weekends, that’s disrupting their circadian rhythm. And, indeed, it is like they flew a few time zones west on Friday evening and flew back east on Monday morning. So, some of the metabolic advantage may have been due to maintaining a more regular eating schedule.

Early or midday time-restricted feeding may have other benefits as well. Prolonged nightly fasting with reduced evening food intake has been associated with lower levels of inflammation and better blood sugar control, both of which might be expected to lower the risk of diseases such as breast cancer. So, data was collected on thousands of breast cancer survivors to see if nightly fasting duration made a difference. Those who couldn’t go more than 13 hours every night without eating had a 36 percent higher risk of cancer recurrence. These findings have led to the suggestion that efforts to “avoid eating after 8 pm and fast for 13 hours or more overnight may be a beneficial consideration for those patients looking to decrease cancer risk and recurrence,” though we’d need a randomized controlled trial to know for sure.

Early time-restricted feeding may even play a role in the health of perhaps the longest living population in the world, the Seventh-Day Adventist Blue Zone in California. Slim, vegetarian, nut-eating, exercising, non-smoking Adventists live about a decade longer than the general population. Their greater life expectancy has been ascribed to these healthy lifestyle behaviors, but there’s one lesser known component that also may be playing a role. Historically, eating two large meals a day, breakfast and lunch, with a prolonged overnight fast was a part of Adventist teachings. Today, only about 1 in 10 Adventists surveyed were eating just two meals a day, but most—over 60 percent—reported breakfast or lunch was their largest meal of the day. Though this has yet to be studied with respect to longevity, front-loading one’s calories earlier in the day with a prolonged nightly fast has been associated with significant weight loss over time, leading the researchers to conclude that eating breakfast and lunch five to six hours apart, and making the overnight fast last 18 to 19 hours may be a useful practical strategy for weight control. The weight may be worth the wait.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Han Chau via unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Time-restricted feeding, where you try to squeeze the same amount of eating into a narrow evening window, has benefits compared to eating in the evening and earlier in the day—but also has adverse effects, because you’re eating so much so late.

The best of both worlds was demonstrated in 2018—time-restricted feeding into a narrow window earlier in the day. Individuals randomized to eat the same food, but just in an 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. eating window, experienced a drop in blood pressures, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance— even when all the study subjects were maintained at the same weight. Same food, same weight, but with different results. The drops in blood pressures were extraordinary: from 123/82 down to 112/72 in five weeks—comparable to the effectiveness of potent blood-pressure drugs.

The longest study to date on time-restricted feeding only lasted 16 weeks: a pilot study with no control group that only involved eight people. But the results are still worth noting. Overweight individuals who, like most of us, were eating more than 14 hours a day, were instructed to stick to a consistent 10- to 12-hour feeding window of their own choosing. On average, they were able to successfully reduce their daily eating duration by about 4.5 hours, and within 16 weeks they had lost seven pounds. They also reported feeling more energetic, and sleeping better. This may help explain why all participants voluntarily expressed their interest in continuing the time-restricted feeding on their own, even after the study ended. You don’t often see that after weight loss studies. Even more remarkably, eight months later, they retained their weight loss and improved energy and sleep. At the one-year point, maintained their boosted energy and sleep, and kept the weight off, all from one of the simplest of interventions: just telling people to stick to a consistent 10- to 12-hour feeding window of their own choosing

How did it work? Even though they weren’t told to change nutrition quality or quantity, they appeared to unintentionally eat hundreds of fewer calories a day. With self-selected time frames, you wouldn’t necessarily think to expect circadian benefits, but because subjects were asked to keep the eating window consistent throughout the week, “metabolic jetlag could be minimized.” The thinking is that because people tend to start their days later on weekends, that’s disrupting their circadian rhythm. And, indeed, it is like they flew a few time zones west on Friday evening and flew back east on Monday morning. So, some of the metabolic advantage may have been due to maintaining a more regular eating schedule.

Early or midday time-restricted feeding may have other benefits as well. Prolonged nightly fasting with reduced evening food intake has been associated with lower levels of inflammation and better blood sugar control, both of which might be expected to lower the risk of diseases such as breast cancer. So, data was collected on thousands of breast cancer survivors to see if nightly fasting duration made a difference. Those who couldn’t go more than 13 hours every night without eating had a 36 percent higher risk of cancer recurrence. These findings have led to the suggestion that efforts to “avoid eating after 8 pm and fast for 13 hours or more overnight may be a beneficial consideration for those patients looking to decrease cancer risk and recurrence,” though we’d need a randomized controlled trial to know for sure.

Early time-restricted feeding may even play a role in the health of perhaps the longest living population in the world, the Seventh-Day Adventist Blue Zone in California. Slim, vegetarian, nut-eating, exercising, non-smoking Adventists live about a decade longer than the general population. Their greater life expectancy has been ascribed to these healthy lifestyle behaviors, but there’s one lesser known component that also may be playing a role. Historically, eating two large meals a day, breakfast and lunch, with a prolonged overnight fast was a part of Adventist teachings. Today, only about 1 in 10 Adventists surveyed were eating just two meals a day, but most—over 60 percent—reported breakfast or lunch was their largest meal of the day. Though this has yet to be studied with respect to longevity, front-loading one’s calories earlier in the day with a prolonged nightly fast has been associated with significant weight loss over time, leading the researchers to conclude that eating breakfast and lunch five to six hours apart, and making the overnight fast last 18 to 19 hours may be a useful practical strategy for weight control. The weight may be worth the wait.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Han Chau via unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

This was my big takeaway from all the intermittent fasting research I looked at: if possible, eat earlier in the day. So, now I try to eat dinner early (I know that’s not possible for everyone). But most people should at least be able to avoid late night eating whenever possible. Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, with or without an early pauper’s dinner would probably best.

If you missed the previous video, see Time-Restricted Eating Put to the Test.

Here are the rest of the fasting videos that are up now:

But I have even more coming out, spread over the next year or two. They will be on Fasting for Disease Reversal and Fasting and Cancer, which, if you don’t want to wait, are available for download now.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

103 responses to “The Benefits of Early Time-Restricted Eating

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  1. I have been using a fasting app to help with my fast timings. I can easily report that I have have 32 days of time restricted eating under my belt with an average of 18 hours of fasting. It has not been hard at all to do this.

  2. Thanks for sharing so many helpful videos. If the larger meals were lunch and dinner instead of breakfast and lunch would the health effects be the same so long as the amount of fasting was the same? That might be more practical for families with school age children since dinners together are a nice family time and would be a shame to give up.

    1. I wonder about this, too, having met other people like myself who have never eaten much until about 4-6 hours after waking…even now, on my WFPB diet I still eat a lot of my daily intake at night. Perhaps when I don’t drink even a 6 oz cup of coffee in the AM I’ll have more appetite earlier, but even when I don’t have any caffiene in the AM, I still don’t feel like eating until 4-6 hours after arising. I have been able to lose 80 lbs in the past year with the Nutritarian (Dr. Fuhrman) eating style regardless and could have lost more if I hadn’t cheated some at times.

      I would also point out that the Southern European pattern (Italy, Spain) is a small breakfast, a large lunch with siesta following and then a return to work and a quite late meal after. It isn’t really settled that 8-9 hours of sleep at one go is better than 6 + 1.5 or some such…so still a lot of questions unanswered. It seems clearer that a nutrient-dense WFPB diet is naturally calorie restricted because of all that bulk and chewing…and IDK how you get two groups of WFPB eaters, one eating early in the day and one late to, as Dr.G says, “put it to the test.” But someone will do it at some point. Also some analysis of what’s happening when you sleep on a full vs a relatively empty stomach.

      1. royjohn,

        I eat all throughout the day; I’ve always considered it as taking 3 average meals, and eating small bits of it during the day. I think my stomach “shrunk;” I can’t eat very much at one sitting, otherwise I feel bloated and suffer heartburn. So I eat a breakfast, and later a banana with coffee. I eat a small lunch, and later a piece of fruit (apple) with a few nuts. I eat a smallish dinner, and later some sort of “dessert” (eg, left-over oatmeal, dried fruit, etc)

        And yet, a few years ago when I switched from vegetarian to whole plant food eating (dropping dairy and eggs), I lost 10 lbs without trying — even though I was already at a healthy weight. (I lost weight about 20 years earlier, by making healthier food choices and practicing portion control, and starting to exercise regularly.)

        I’m going to guess that one size does not fit all. And like you, I would love to see similar studies of WPF eaters, and the timing of the effects of when they eat. And when I read the results of other studies, I always wonder: “But what else are the study subjects eating?” SAD? WPF? Paleo? “Low carb?” Something else?

          1. You weigh 55 kilos, but what is your height? Without the height it is impossible to know, really. But if you are 1.5 meters or more, you are at a perfectly normal weight and losing weight would likely not be a good thing to do.

        1. “I eat all throughout the day;”
          – – – – –

          As a teeth-challenged dame one who brushes after every meal (after waiting 30 minutes or so if I have tea or coffee), I’d wonder how my always-going-to-the dentist pearly whites are holding up. Just one more reason why I don’t snack between the three squares. Plus, as I posted before, I eat plenty enuf at mealtimes.

          If you’re the one who asked what buckwheat tastes like with other grains (steel-cut oats, for instance), it’s really really good. Nice flavor just standing alone. When my hub was alive we often had:

          https://thejewishkitchen.com/kasha-varnishkes/

          I would tweak it to make it more “healthy,” of course, but we looked forward to the once-a-week when I made this. Although he was half Irish/half Italian, he grew up in a Brooklyn neighborhood that consisted of many Jewish people. I made some of his other favorite Jewish dishes too. Good stuff, it was! :-)

      2. “Also some analysis of what’s happening when you sleep on a full vs a relatively empty stomach.”

        THAT would be very interesting and useful to know.

    2. In the North of England we traditionaly ate brekfast, dinner and tea. Lunch was regarded as an affete Southrrn concept only suitable for people who didn’t have to work for s living.

      Since ‘dinner’ means the main meal of the day, this research suggests ‘breakfast’ and ‘dinner’ should now be seen as synonomous.

      1. You’re right and I’m having trouble with that because I’ve become accustomed to a whomping big bowl of oatmeal and tons of different kinds of berries in it with assorted spices and ground flax seeds. I’ve gradually worked out how much I need to get me through to my “lunch.” I love my breakfast and hate the thought of changing. I’ll have to stew on that a bit.

        1. Liisa, I enjoy the same breakfast that you do. I won’t be changing anything since eating grains later in the day would just cause me to pack on the weight. I eat a fair size lunch of soup, bread, fruit after swimming workouts but generally like eating lighter fare later in the day.

          1. Barb, When I first started eating closer to WFPB, I made a breakfast soup for which I got up an hour earlier every morning in order to fix it. I peeled and chopped multiple vegetables and used a bit of rice as a base with broth, and grated ginger and other spices. I actually did this while I was working and not retired as I am now. I loved that soup! So now I’m thinking, nudged by your comment, that that would possibly be a better breakfast for me and I should consider eating a smaller meal consisting of less oatmeal and berries sometime later in the day. Thank you for the nudge!

  3. I’ve been doing 18:6 for the past three years now, although I started by easing into this style of eating, and I won’t be going back. It’s THE single best thing I’ve done for myself, healthwise. I lost 14 pounds without even trying, and I feel much better than I did even 40 years ago! Like a doctor I heard recently talking about time-restricted eating said, “If this was able to be made into a pill, it would be a billion-dollar industry.”

  4. I found this research that followed 17 subjects…and dinner skipping was better compared to breakfast skipping.
    It is socially much harder to skip dinner though….at least in my family…society is not set up to encourage a leisurely family breakfast. I really look forward to family dinner, as that is the most quality time we have to socialize. It feels awkward sitting with my nug of tea while everyone else eats (not to mention I prepare the meals).

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28490511
    Impact of breakfast skipping compared with dinner skipping on regulation of energy balance and metabolic risk.

    Background: Meal skipping has become an increasing trend of the modern lifestyle that may lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes.Objective: We investigated whether the timing of meal skipping impacts these risks by affecting circadian regulation of energy balance, glucose metabolism, and postprandial inflammatory responses.Design: In a randomized controlled crossover trial, 17 participants [body mass index (in kg/m2): 23.7 ± 4.6] underwent 3 isocaloric 24-h interventions (55%, 30%, and 15% carbohydrate, fat, and protein, respectively): a breakfast skipping day (BSD) and a dinner skipping day (DSD) separated by a conventional 3-meal-structure day (control). Energy and macronutrient balance was measured in a respiration chamber. Postprandial glucose, insulin, and inflammatory responses in leukocytes as well as 24-h glycemia and insulin secretion were analyzed.Results: When compared with the 3-meal control, 24-h energy expenditure was higher on both skipping days (BSD: +41 kcal/d; DSD: +91 kcal/d; both P < 0.01), whereas fat oxidation increased on the BSD only (+16 g/d; P < 0.001). Spontaneous physical activity, 24-h glycemia, and 24-h insulin secretion did not differ between intervention days. The postprandial homeostasis model assessment index (+54%) and glucose concentrations after lunch (+46%) were, however, higher on the BSD than on the DSD (both P < 0.05). Concomitantly, a longer fasting period with breakfast skipping also increased the inflammatory potential of peripheral blood cells after lunch.Conclusions: Compared with 3 meals/d, meal skipping increased energy expenditure. In contrast, higher postprandial insulin concentrations and increased fat oxidation with breakfast skipping suggest the development of metabolic inflexibility in response to prolonged fasting that may in the long term lead to low-grade inflammation and impaired glucose homeostasis.

    1. Hi Mims,

      I think you need to read this study, again. It seems that, although breakfast skipping tends to burn more fat, it also creates more inflammation in the body, overall. At least that’s how I read this study. Please let me know if I’m reading it incorrectly!

      1. Exactly my point, I said dinner skipping was better, not breakfast skipping. The folks who skipped breakfast had worse blood sugars and more inflammatory response, plus the dinner skippers burned 50 more calories on average per day. I was just chiming in from a purely social point of view, it is harder to skip dinner than breakfast. I saw several other pieces of research in pubmed, that over time skipping breakfast for T2DM leads to worse biometrics. Likely related to clock genes, melatonin receptors, I am sure very multifactorial.

    2. Yes, breakfast isn’t as easy to eat together. We’re all indifferent places. It’s also difficult to prepare complicated foods. I won’t eat amla, garlic, or beets by themselves, but mixed in with other things, yeah, I”ll eat them. Also, social life is important. More died of heart break and loneliness.

      John S

      1. You are right.

        There is a trend toward becoming a great big world of scattered individuals who only have ever interacted with anyone at all via computers. Many young people never have eaten meals at a table and their faces are buried in their cell phones at every meal. Some children are even doing their younger school years and college on the internet. Harder to meet people or get married that way. Harder to even have friendships at all that way. Maybe it is time to start a new trend and invite people for breakfast or brunch or coffee.

        I just watched a whimsical true story of a man who traded a red paperclip and kept trading until he got a house from it. Maybe there is a creative social way to trade up.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s3bdVxuFBs

          1. I’m an introvert but probably more of a healthy balance… what does it all mean anyway… point is, tangibly getting together in person is extremely important and mentally unhealthy to avoid.

            I need my alone time for sure, but while also living and socializing in reality as a balance.

        1. Beingthere, totally agree. And now people are all doing this 1 meal a day thing or intermittent fasting or on a trendy diet that couldn’t possibly be fed to a child (and I hope no one tries!) such as the keto diet, and it’s like… so people don’t eat dinner with their kids now?

          It goes beyond meeting people and marriage and all that, I know it already has had and continues to have a growing extraordinary sociological impact and impact on social development. I even blame it in large part along with other factors, on the insane norm now of school shootings. People are so disconnected all grossly under the guise of being more connected than ever which is such a fallacy that I call it a trick.

          Personally, I think trends are stupid and wish people would get back to not needing stupid trends to do things because they’re simply being real people and doing real things.

  5. I used to have terrible nocturnal GERD, but now my wife and I eat our biggest meals at breakfast and lunch, on a WFPBD, as well as do our most vigorous exercise in the AM, and the nocturnal GERD is gone, besides weight loss and avoidance of the recurrence of 2 cancers for 20 years. Thank yo for your great information.

  6. Same food, but what food? I would like to see how this compares to someone on a WFPB diet. Ideally, I’d like to see a more average diet (which is likely the diets of those in these studies) on the fasting regime compared to those on a WFPB diet with no time restricted eating and also both of these groups compared to those on a WFPB diet with time restricted eating.

    My personal GUESS of the outcome would be the WFPB diet trumps time restricted eating on a more standard diet (obviously) and that the time restricted WFPB dieters would show on average no statistically relevant difference except in regards to those needing to lose weight and those with stubborn cholesterol/blood pressure/etc. numbers they’re trying to lower as for some these things can be more stubborn.

    I’m also interested to know how it would compare to simply eating earlier in the day–not eating past 7pm–without calculating the hours you fast. How much of the results might not necessarily be due to hours fasting, but just on a more natural, earlier schedule including in regards to eating… obviously that would result in longer fasting periods but maybe that doesn’t necessarily have to be 12 hours or more, should someone wake up at 6am and eat their oats right away.

    I’m ALSO interested–as I think a lot of people are–to know how much tea consumption, for example, constitutes as fasting. I would assume so because it doesn’t seem to be so magical as some almost describe it as, but more a matter of little to know calorie intake.

    1. S,

      You should really read Valter Longo’s book, The Fasting Mimicking Diet, and learn about all the benefits to fasting and/or fasting mimicking. You will be surprised!

      1. Advice from Longo’s Create Cures Foundation:

        Confine all eating to within a twelve-hour period; for example, start after 8 a.m. and end before 8 p.m. Don’t eat anything within three to four hours of bedtime.

        Based on your weight, age, and abdominal circumference, decide whether to have two or three meals per day.

        If you are overweight or tend to gain weight easily, consume two meals a day: breakfast and either lunch or dinner, plus two low-sugar (less than 5 grams) snacks with fewer than 100 calories each.

        If you are already at a normal weight, or if you tend to lose weight easily or are over 65 and of normal weight, eat three meals a day and one low-sugar (less than 3 to 5 grams) snack with fewer than 100 calories.

  7. This agrees with my personal experience. We lost weight and felt better when we were on our own schedules of eating at 10am and 4pm, or 9am and 3pm. Lunch was the main meal.

    Then I went back to an ordinary workday at an office and fell back into the large dinner pattern later in the evening. Because eating first thing in the morning makes me nauseous, I still achieve a 13 hour fast each night. This is ok, but I would like to do better on some of these more stubborn health numbers and drop some more weight. Sounds like the timing thing might be our missing piece of the puzzle.

    1. “Because eating first thing in the morning makes me nauseous,”
      – – – – –

      Anne, for all I know, It might do the same for me. But I get up at 6 a.m. and do my rebounding, yoga exercise, showering, a little computer work, etc. while the whole-grains are a-cookin’ on the stove and the fruit from the freezer is thawing a bit.

      So I’m plenty hungry by the time I do eat breakfast.

  8. I don’t eat breakfast, only a cup of coffee. Lunch is my largest meal of the day. Snack of nuts and fruits around 4pm. Dinner around 7pm usually consists of a smoothie, which digests quickly. I have GERD so I dont like to sleep with food in my stomach. It makes a big difference.

  9. Dr. Greger’s takeaway (eat earlier in the day if possible and avoid late night eating) is probably good advice. But why don’t these pro-fasting articles include the caveat that there is another side of the story? I researched disadvantages of fasting out of concern that fasting for someone like me with no gallbladder could irritate the stomach due to the constant release of bile with no food to soak it up. If you eliminate all the people who might possibly have health problems from fasting (including those with risk factors for gallstones, those with diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, those with high levels of stress, endurance athletes, children and teens, pregnant women) almost nobody should be fasting without medical supervision! It is presumably somewhat safer when people are fasting at a facility where medical monitoring is part of the program.

    From my brief research, fasting increases the risk of gallstones, especially for those with other factors favoring formation of gallstones including rapid weight loss, being on statins, age over 60, high triglycerides, obesity, high estrogen levels from HRT or birth control pills, and Native American ancestry. With fasting the liver begins to secrete more cholesterol into the bile it produces, and bile may remain in the gallbladder longer because it may not empty normally, with both factors contributing to stone formation. Cholesterol stones are believed to form when bile contains too much cholesterol, or when the gallbladder does not empty as it should. Several articles cautioned that fasting can lead to health problems for people on statins and high blood pressure meds, since these people are more prone to electrolyte abnormalities from fasting. Articles also discouraged fasting for people with high levels of stress due to increased cortisol production associated with fasting. Eating before longer duration aerobic exercise has been proven to increase performance, so fasting is not advised for endurance athletes according to articles. One article added that fasting decreases REM sleep. A 2017 study says that LDL increased significantly among participants in alternate day fasting, with no measurable cardiprotective or weight loss benefits compared to cutting calories every day.

    Granted, there are many versions of fasting so it is hard to figure out which, if any, of these risks relate to early time-restricted feeding, the version discussed in Dr. Greger’s summary above. And of course prior to the invention of the light bulb, the entire population practiced early time-restricted feeding, so it is likely very safe. However, I would have hoped that Dr. Greger could alert those who are at risk of possible health problems that should be monitored by a health professional.

    1. I was also hoping that he would bring up the issue and consequences of long fasts starving the microbiome.

      I don’t know how true this is but I’ve heard that your good bacteria will continue to try to survive when not being fed and that to do so, can start feeding off the intestine lining.

      As far as exercise goes, I tried doing my workouts before breakfast for a time and my performance definitely suffered as I felt much more tired, weaker and I did not feel well doing it. So I pushed through, but it was miserable comparatively and I’m sure it resulted in expending much less energy and it decreased my ability and also desire of going at it as hard.

      1. S,

        I discovered that when I exercised before breakfast — I fell back to sleep!

        I also fell asleep after exercising at night to try to stay awake, when babysitting or studying for exams.

        So, sometime during the day works best for me. Or after breakfast.

        1. Lol, now that is a healthy way to get to sleep at night, Dr. J! I probably could have fallen back to sleep exercising before eating in the morning if I let myself (or during, had I allowed myself to lay down lol). Exercising at night usually wakes me up when I’m getting tired, but I think after the adrenaline goes down, it helps me sleep better. Just like doing 100 jumping jacks really quickly or lifting some weights or going for a walk or something like that.

    2. Caroline, I enjoy reading the source materials cited and linked with every video. There you can see (at least sometimes the studies are available free of charge) how the studies were done, ie, fasting times, food rules, study participant descriptions, etc. They also discuss the results and if the results could be useful or not, and for whom.

      The topic of intermittant fasting is really interesting for me. After reading the great results Dr Mirkin and his wife achieved with the changes they made, I gave it a try too. I have 1/4 tsp of tumeric per day (along with other things) in a shotglass to keep the gallbladder contracting regularly and preventing unwanted gallbladder attacks. I have had zero attacks. My sleep has gone from 3 hrs to 8 or 9 hrs per night. No more acid reflux, constant hunger or cravings either. My clothes are loose I notice. I have been wfpb for over 1 yrs, but made these intermittant fasting changes 2 months ago. It’s wonderful.

      1. * been eating wfpb over 10 years, (not 1 years.. typo) and tried the intermittant fasting for the past 2 months. It has had profound effects so far so I will continue with it and see how it goes.

    3. Caroline, was your research on fasting or time restricted eating. As I’m sure you know, that makes a huge difference. Being under medical supervision for time restricted eating seems like overkill to me, unless one has some significant health issues. After all, it is primarily an admonition to avoid evening snack, hardly an extreme regimen.

    4. Hi, Caroline! You bring up some good points. There are people who should not fast, and people generally should not fast for more than a day or two without medical supervision. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, time-restricted eating and fasting are not really the same thing. Fasting usually refers to abstaining from food for at least 24 hours. You might be interested in these videos: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-alternate-day-intermittent-fasting-safe/ https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-fasting-for-weight-loss-safe/ I hope that helps!

      1. For Caroline: My earlier post regarding gall bladder emptying and turmeric was intended to respond directly to Caroline’s post. I forgot to put who I was responding to at the start of my response.

        For NF.org: Lordy, how I detest WordPress for commenting

  10. Yes, thanks for this great video. It looks like the old fashioned advice of getting most of your calories early in the day holds true!

  11. Thank you for the great article.

    What are you advising for your patients who have Adipose Tissue Disorders such as Lipedema and Lympedema? These diseases affect one in ten women. The patients with these diseases can’t lose weight with diet or exercise. Other than Keto what would you advise for these patients?

    Thank you so much! Happy Holidays..

    1. Why would anyone recommend keto diets for those conditions (or any other conditions for that matter)?

      You have already pointed out that that diet can’t be used totreat those conditions. Also, since keto diets are basically another name for low carb diets or at least a sub-type of low carb diets, they seem likely to significantly increase long term mortality risk

      ‘Compared to participants with the highest carbohydrate consumption, those with the lowest intake had a 32% higher risk of all-cause death over an average 6.4-year follow-up. In addition, risks of death from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer were increased by 51%, 50%, and 35%, respectively.

      The results were confirmed in a meta-analysis of seven prospective cohort studies with 447,506 participants and an average follow-up 15.6 years, which found 15%, 13%, and 8% increased risks in total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality with low (compared to high) carbohydrate diets.

      Professor Banach said: “Low carbohydrate diets might be useful in the short term to lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve blood glucose control, but our study suggests that in the long-term they are linked with an increased risk of death from any cause, and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer.”
      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180828085922.htm

      1. Fumbles, not sure if you saw this yet in the bbc health section. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-50715156 Seems a study (funded by a stent manufacturer) redefined ‘heart attack’ for it’s own purposes, and then failed to give study results proper prominence. Far more heart attacks with stents vs surgery it seems, but I’ll let you read for yourself.

        1. Thanks Barb. I hadn’t seen this before.

          It confused me at first because it’s not possible to implant stents without surgery. In fact, to my untutored mind it’s arguable that implanting stents is a more extensive surgical procedure than ‘plain’ open heart surgery. So ‘stents vs surgery’ didn’t make any sense to me.

          Of course, those people writing the guidelines are surgeons and therefore wouldn’t consider medical alternatives (ie lifestyle changes and/or dtugs).to surgical procedures. My understanding is that for MOST people, lifestyle changes and/or medications are just as effective (and a heck of a lot less traumatic and less expensive) tyan either stents or open heart surgery.

          https://www.drmirkin.com/health/heart/stents-and-bypass-surgery-not-more-effective-than-lifestyle-changes-and-medication-for-stable-heart-disease.html

          1. Fumbles, here, stents are placed during during an angiogram procedure. I was not even given a sedative for that procedure. Wrist is cut only. Open heart surgery is hours long and invasive in the extreme. My friend had a heart transplant (4hrs) vs my surgery (6hrs).
            Stents are a walk in the park by comparison.

                  1. Thanks YR.

                    I imagine that you might even be able to get away with sedation and local anaesthesia in some cases (instead of general anaesthesia)?

                    1. Fumbles, origionally I believe the majority of angiograms/stents went through the groin, but they often use the wrist now if possible. In my case they numbed the wrist, but I received NO sedation… and I was not a happy camper. I will not undergo another one.

                      In my own case, the surgery was indeed life-saving. I had been eating well, and exercising a great deal all along. Without the surgery I would not have been able to continue with the active lifestyle I enjoy.

      1. Christine,

        given that information, could a diet rich in antioxidants reverse adipose tissue disorders?

        This is the first I’ve heard about this disorder so I’m having a hard time believing it affects 1 in 10 women as suggested above.

          1. Well diet can have an effect on hormones, though, so I still wonder. I also read it can occur from liver disease, at least in men, so that too makes me wonder about a WFPB diet… certainly not a keto diet!

            What a horrible illness. But there is no way that the estimates are correct in affecting 1 in 9 women. It would be known if this were that common. I have never heard of it nor known anyone who fell under the category of these symptoms or said they had it.

  12. Hmmm, this is a conundrum for me. I tend to exercise first thing in the morning, which is 5 am in the summer, and closer to 8 am in the winter. In the summer I have no difficulty in eating my first meal at 8am, but in the winter it’s a lot closer to 11 am. At that point, I have fasted usually for about 15 hours with a cardio workout of an hour or more toward the end of the fast. Where I have difficulty is getting a second large-ish meal in before 4 pm in the winter. I’m simply not hungry. So my second (and frequently last) meal of the day is late afternoon rather than evening, and I suspect I’m actually skipping a meal, which was always supposed to be bad.

    My sleep has been bad for other reasons, mainly having to do with a lifelong depression. However, the cardio seems to be improving that slowly. At 68, I’m reluctant to change too much but I’d like to think I’m on the right track. Any suggestions?

    1. Barbie,

      “….but I’d like to think I’m on the right track.”
      – – – – –

      Then your Higher Self is telling you you are! Indeed, different strokes; one size couldn’t possibly fit all.

      Just look at all the posters at this forum. It’s composed of people with a great variety of physical, emotional and mental issues. And solutions for one don’t always work for another. It is what it is!

        1. Fumbles, give your Higher Self (your “ego” in this case) a swift kick in the butt!

          Furthermore, we all know that you DO eat ice cream. :-)

    2. Hi, Barbie! What is the reason for exercising later in the winter? Could you exercise at the same time as you do in summer? If so, that might be the answer. If not, maybe you could eat first thing in the morning in winter, and exercise a little later in the day. The research cited in the video above suggests that skipping a meal may not be bad, but that it should be one later in the day rather than earlier in the day. I hope that helps!

  13. 23 hrs and 42 mins

    That must have taken at least 24 hours to narrate.

    I finally signed up for my free audible trial to hear it narrated by the author.

    My computer says that today is already the 10th, but I couldn’t start listening until the morning.

    Something tells me that this will take a while.

      1. Yes, Audible has an audio version.

        There is a free trial if you aren’t already a member.

        Also, I went to Amazon and in the “Look inside” section is something like 138 pages of the book – more or less. It skips sections, but if you want a head start, it’s in there.

  14. I have no problem fasting 12-14 hours. My issue is almost never being hungry for breakfast. I have to force 200-300 WFPB calories in at some point before 10-11am. This way I can take my morning medication.

    If I really skip eating until lunch, I get really hungry by 4-5 pm for dinner which doesn’t work for our family schedule.

    It’s just so counterintuitive to be ignoring my lack of hunger signals to eat breakfast.

  15. Valter Longo addresses my concern that too short a feeding window in time-restricted feeding can have adverse consequences, specifically gallstone formation. He advocates limiting the fasting period to twelve hours.

    “If you fast for longer than 12 or 13 hours, that starts to be associated with problems like gallstone formation, and we also know that longer fasts can lead people to skip breakfast. There are a number of studies, and we have our own data supporting this, showing that skipping breakfast is associated with increased risk for overall mortality and cardiovascular disease. So not only is it not good, it is bad for you.”   

    “I am not a big fan of intermittent fasting. I think it is in the same category as chronic calorie restriction. I really like 12- to 13-hour time-restricted feeding every day. …Confine all eating to within a twelve to thirteen hour period; for example, start after 8 a.m. and end before 8 p.m. Don’t eat anything within three to four hours of bedtime. Based on your weight, age, and abdominal circumference, decide whether to have two or three meals per day.If you are overweight or tend to gain weight easily, consume two meals a day: breakfast and either lunch or dinner, plus two low-sugar (less than 5 grams) snacks with fewer than 100 calories each.If you are already at a normal weight, or if you tend to lose weight easily or are over 65 and of normal weight, eat three meals a day and one low-sugar (less than 3 to 5 grams) snack with fewer than 100 calories.”

    In addition to advocating a 12 hour fasting period daily with no eating within three or four hours of bedtime, Longo suggests occasional very low protein, moderately low calorie days that are designed to be a safer substitute for water fasts. “Undergo periodic fasting-mimicking diets. For very healthy individuals with no cardiovascular disease risk factors, we recommend FMD once every six months. For those overweight with multiple risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, including a family history of heart disease or stroke, we recommend FMD once a month until normal weight is achieved, after which it can be reduced….Fasting seems to be the most beneficial for patients who have the great risk factors for disease, such as those who have high blood pressure or pre-diabetes or who are obese.” “Participants considered “at risk,” because they had risk factors such as high IGF-1, cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar levels, made significant progress toward better health.”

    “The fast-mimicking diet, which was designed to mimic the results of a water-only fast, allowed for participants to consume between 750 and 1,100 calories per day. The meals for the fast-mimicking diet contained precise proportions of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The “fasting with food meal plan is low in carbohydrates and proteins and contains healthful fatty acids” which are apparently primarily from nuts, with lesser amounts from seeds, flax oil, unsweetened chocolate, coconut oil, olives, olive oil. The FMD meal plan that his company sells includes dehydrated soup mixes, nut bars, olives, kale and seed crackers. Drinks include hibiscus and spearmint teas and a glycerin based drink powder. A multivitamin and omega-3 supplement are included in the package.

    Note that although protein intake is extremely low on the FMD days, the regular diet that Longo advocates is already quite low in protein. “Eat approximately 0.31 to 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. If you weigh 130 pounds, that comes to about 40 to 47 grams of protein per day, of which 30 grams should be consumed in a single meal to maximize muscle synthesis.” WHO recommends 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, the high end of Longo’s recommendation for protein intake. His dietary recommendation differs from Ornish/Esselstyn in that he permits small amounts of fish (Ornish/Esselstyn want you to eat flaxseed and chia seed instead for omega-3) and more fat from nuts and olives/olive oil. “The diet presented by Professor Longo is a compromise that factors in decades of work and evidence produced by Ornish, Esselstyn, and others indicating that very low-fat intake may be preferable, while also considering more recent studies suggesting that there is little evidence that a decreased consumption of olive oil and nuts will produce a beneficial effect.”

    Hopefully the new book by Dr. Greger will include his opinion of the above recommendations. Dr. Longo has a book https://prolonfmd.com/the-longevity-diet/ and a website through his foundation https://createcures.org/ and the USC School of Gerontology program that he is associated with also has a website https://gero.usc.edu/.

  16. “If you fast for longer than 12 or 13 hours, that starts to be associated with problems like gallstone formation”
    – – – – –

    I’ve been doing the 14-hour overnight fasting period like forever, and I’m not about to worry about forming gallstones at this point.

    1. YR, same here. 14 hrs is about perfect. Before starting wfpb eating, I had gallbladder attacks frequently. In fact, I remember one of the worst years was when I was doing fasting along with Orthodox church friends. Their ‘fasting’ was intermittant style… one meal a day, vegetables, no oil. The doctors were going to take my gallbladder out but I refused, and soon after went wfpb all the time. Never had an issue since. Seems to me they said being overweight and eating dairy were risk factors.
      I do use turmeric every day … it’s part of Dr Greger’s daily dozen. If people have not had an ultrasound of their gallbladder and are having attacks, they might want to hold the turmeric til they get checked.

    2. Well, no, this was not to suggest that you will develop gallstones simply because you fast for 14 hours. But a long fasting window (apparently one in excess of 12 or 13 hours) is one risk factor, and something to keep in mind if you do have other risk factors for stone formation. Personally, I am fortunate to have survived rupture of the gallbladder. The survival rate is 30 percent. The article that I found earlier said that other risk factors for stone formation are diabetes, rapid weight loss, obesity, higher than normal estrogen levels, Native American ancestry, female gender, age over 60, and being on statin drugs. I had multiple risk factors at the time. The adverse health outcomes related to gallstone formation include both rupture of the gallbladder and stomach cancer, both with poor survival rates. I presume that impaired gut mucosal barrier function is another possible consequence associated with gallbladder removal. So this is a serious issue which should be mentioned in articles about fasting and time-restricted feeding.

      “The gallbladder decreases the formation of secondary hydrophobic hepatotoxic bile acids by accumulating primary bile acids thereby, protecting the liver and the mucosa of the stomach….The incidence of stomach cancers was increased in both the gallstone and cholecystectomy groups….We suggest that there should be an awareness of the possibility of an increased risk for developing stomach cancer in gallstones, cholecystectomy patients, which might be induced by duodenogastric bile reflux. Moreover, as the characteristics of the stomach cancers were only detected once they had already progressed to an advanced stage, the survival rate was [poor].”

  17. Thanks for the info Caroline! I really intend to hold onto my gallbladder if possible though I do have more than a few risk factors as well. I have a scope every 2 or 3 years as well as ultrasound, so far, so good. So glad you made it through your ordeal!

    1. Yes, thanks Caroline — I hope to hold on to mine as well. It sounds like you had a whole bunch of risk factors going on, so it’s understandable why you’d want to be extra cautious.

      So far, the only thing I have in common with your list is ” female gender, age over 60.” Maybe I was Native American ancestry in another lifetime. :-)

  18. This could explain the long life of the centenarians in the Blue Zones. Eating in line with your body’s circadian rhythm. The Okinawans and the Nicoyans fried with animal fat and they did OK. This eating pattern might have a bigger impact on health than the other things. Eating beans at every meal too along with vegetables. Meat as a side would be OK because the other stuff would neutralise any inflammation caused by the meat. All the studies shown about meat causing inflammation are never in the context of a meal. It’s always isolated. If there was a study about the effects of a healthy whole food meal on inflammation we’d see meat having no effect.

    1. That’s certainly a viewpoint espoused by numerous low carbers who make a virtue of how much fruit and vegetables they ate. I can’t count the number of low carbers who’ve sid that they eat more plants than most ‘vegetarians’.

      On the other hand, this Swedish study of some 75,000 people suggests that even in the context of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, eating (red) meat increases the risk of premature mortality:

      ‘Compared with participants in the lowest quintile of total red meat consumption, those in the highest quintile had a 21% increased risk of all-cause mortality (HR: 1.21; 95% CI: 1.13, 1.29), a 29% increased risk of CVD mortality (HR: 1.29; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.46), and no increase in the risk of cancer mortality (HR: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.88, 1.43). Results were remarkably similar across amounts of FV consumption, and no interaction between red meat and FV consumption was detected.

      Conclusion: High intakes of red meat were associated with a higher risk of all-cause and CVD mortality. The increased risks were consistently observed in participants with low, medium, and high FV consumption.’
      https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/104/4/1137/4557128

    2. Arthur, The Blue Zones sources I’ve been reading say the fat of choice is olive oil for most Blue Zones. Obviously Okinawa is not a source of olive oil, but what is your source that says the Nicoyans and Okinawans fried using animal fat? Okinawans only had small portions of meat on celebratory occasions and five times a month or less according to the Blue Zones cookbook.

      1. A google search on those things will bring up a website. Also, back in the second world war I don’t think the Okinawans would have had access to vegetable oils.

  19. The video states: “Early or midday time-restricted feeding may have other benefits as well. Prolonged nightly fasting with reduced evening food intake has been associated with lower levels of inflammation and better blood sugar control, both of which might be expected to lower the risk of diseases such as breast cancer. So, data was collected on thousands of breast cancer survivors to see if nightly fasting duration made a difference. Those who couldn’t go more than 13 hours every night without eating had a 36 percent higher risk of cancer recurrence.“

    Which led to wonder about night shift workers. I think that I’ve read that they suffer from various ills, including increased risk of breast cancer risk for nurses working at night. I wonder if disrupted eating patterns have anything to do with that? Of course, their whole life is disrupted with erratic schedules. I don’t know how people manage that, though I’m glad that some do: police officers, first responders, nurses, doctors, other health care practitioners, etc. My daughter is a nurse, and her first job was a 12 hour night shift at a hospital on 3 different days of the week. Her schedule was never the same from week to week. How do people survive that?

  20. I’ve been on a plant based diet since the summer of 2010, and on a 15:9 restricted eating not long after I started. I can’t say how many pounds I lost from June to September 2010 but I can tell you that my waist size went from 38″ down to 30″ in that time span. I still wear size 30 pants today.

    The past few weeks, after reading Dr Valter Longo’s “The Longevity Diet” book which was introduced by our doctor (Dr Wayne Dysinger in Riverside, CA) to our Lifestyle Medicine support group, I’ve switch to a 16:8 diet — that is, an eating window of between 9 am to 5 pm. I still squeezed into my mouth the same amount of food. However, I noticed that sometimes I don’t get hungry until 10 am. So the rule I’m using now is simply that — Go with the 9 to 5 eating window and don’t eat till I’m hungry. Result? I eat a lesser amount of food on average.

  21. I think I speak for a large portion of people here, who are health-interested and already an ideal weight,

    that we would like to know about *anabolic* fasting and senescence and what we might want to do to just *optimise* in various ways. Should we have a few fasts a year to clear those cells out, does that actually work?
    There seem to be so many applications of fasting and ways to go about them aside from weight loss.

    Of course, the real life saving work is to suggest ways to correct things like obesity, and I get why you’d want to focus on that.

    But I’d just like to say that I’m here for more fasting content while maintaining or gaining weight and I’d trust this website as a source of information and consider it more heavily than any other.

  22. I know it’s another topic but I have two questions…

    I have amenorrhea for over 8 years now, does anyone have some advice to get my period back?

    And second question..
    after eating too many pumpkins I now have carotenemia, what is the quickest remedie to get my normal skin color back? are there certain foods that can help?

    Sending lots of love!

  23. I’m trying to get used to not eating after 6 pm or at least not after 8 pm.
    Part of my problem is that in the evening after a stresful day I like to eat for comfort.
    I have been told that drinking herbal tea or eating a salad without oil after 8 pm is OK.
    But what I would really enjoy is a decafeinated filtered coffee. Does anyone know if decafeinated filtered coffee is OK after 8 pm—or as acceptable as herbal tea?
    All the best

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