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Time Restricted Eating vs Calorie Restriction

iStock-1195242497Providing a boost for the concept of time-restricted eating (TRE), results of a 12-month randomized clinical trial comparing TRE to more typical calorie restriction (CR), as well as a control group, were recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In this unblinded study, 90 participants with obesity were recruited, 78 of whom completed the trial. The first group restricted the time period during which they ate to an 8-hour window between noon and 8pm, the second group counted their daily calories and restricted them by 25%, while the control group made no changes.

On average both experimental groups reduced their daily calorie intake by a little more than 400, losing approximately 5% of their body weight, or about 10 pounds in the TRE group and almost 12 in the CR group (compared to control). The difference in weight loss was not significantly different between the two groups, suggesting that not only can TRE be successful over a 1-year period, but that calorie counting may not be necessary as part of TRE. No other differences in cardiovascular or metabolic health were noted.

It’s important to point out that both groups received considerable support, including dietary education and cognitive behavioral therapy to help maintain their respective diets, as both TRE and CR may be difficult to maintain over a 1-year period without providing additional patient support. Yet this study is encouraging as it provides another tool to help with weight loss, allowing greater choice to patients looking for a strategy that fits them best.

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