1. Time-restricted eating was not an effective strategy for long-term weight loss in a general medical population.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Countless studies and ongoing research have depicted obesity and being overweight as significant modifiable chronic disease risk factors. Measures promoting healthier diets and new exercise programs are continuing to be developed to help curb obesity within the United States. Interestingly, recent research has shown that time-restricted eating patterns may have an association with changes in weight over time. As such, this prospective cohort study aimed to evaluate the association between time from the first to last meal with changes in weight over time. This study included 1017 adult participants with at least one weight and height value documented in the electronic health record, from a variety of healthcare networks in the United States. The study team designed an app known as the Daily24, which participants could use to record timing of waking up, sleeping, and each eating occasion within a 24-hour window. Participants could also record additional information such as sizes of meals and indicate sleep duration. Using sleep and eating occasions, the study authors were able to calculate the duration between the first and last meal. The results of this study showed that consuming a total daily number of larger meals was associated with an increased weight gain compared to consuming a total number of small meals. However, no difference with time-restricted eating was seen with regards to impact on weight loss over the study period. In conclusion, while the total number of daily meals was associated with an increased weight change, these findings do not support employing a time-restricted eating strategy to promote weight loss. Some limitations of this study should be considered when interpreting these findings. Firstly, this study required an adequate use of the Daily24 mobile application; however, depending on the participant’s education level and age, the use of this app regularly may be challenging. As well, the effect of accidental weight loss through illness or other comorbidities could not be assessed, which may have potentially biased these results. Nevertheless, further research investigating eating intervals and their relationship to weight loss, while taking these methodological limitations into consideration should be conducted.
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