How many hours a day do you find yourself eating? Did you know that there might be a connection between the duration with which you are eating each day and your ability to lose and maintain weight loss? Your circadian rhythm is a cycle that tells your body when to sleep, rise and eat, and regulating many physiological processes.
In 2015, a group of scientists conducted a study proving that if you eat according to your natural circadian rhythm, restricting the time you eat to an 8-12 hour window without altering quantity or quality, you can improve your health.
In the past, most food journals or surveys focused on how much we were eating, not when. In the 2015 study, participants didn’t alter their diets; they only changed when they were eating, reducing it from a 15-hour window to a 10-hour window. With this small change, the participants lost weight and kept it off for over a year.
Download Ochsner Health System’s new app, Squeeze and try restricting your consumption duration. Download the app in iTunes.
Mindful eating during a set amount of time is also associated with weight loss, longer sleep duration, increased endurance, reduced inflammation and many other benefits. Some data suggests that the number of calories you consume can influence your risk of chronic disease, which is a large contributor to obesity-related complications and death.
Fewer Hours = Fewer Pounds
Thanks to smartphones, tracking when and what you eat is easier than ever. Ochsner Health System’s new app, Squeeze, helps you do just this.
Just like the 2015 study, Squeeze prompts you to simply snap a picture of your food and upload it to the app. The photo then provides a timestamp for when it was consumed. Once you have taken pictures for about a week, you can view your log and see how your previous days stack up to each other and begin to decrease the number of hours you eat each day.
Thanks to these studies, we know that fasting for more than 12 hours can lower your blood pressure and glucose levels. If your body has more time to fast, it can break down toxins and repair damaged DNA. With this type of tracking, you may realize that you usually start eating at 6:00 am and take your last bite at 10:00 pm. That’s eating over a 16 hour period. However, we now know that you can take a small step to get your health on the right track by simply reducing the hours that you eat.