I watched the latest episode of Trust Me, I’m a Doctor on iPlayer last night and was particularly interested in one of the theories they explored. The suggestion was that there would be health benefits from reducing the time span between your first and last meal each day. In the experiment they asked the study group to have breakfast an hour and a half later and take dinner an hour and a half earlier with no further calories to be consumed later in the evening. No other changes were to be made to their diet. The results suggested that that this did have a beneficial effect.
It is magazine TV so doesn’t provide details of how rigorously the set up was controlled. Also, even the control group (no adjustments to eating) all showed a reduction in body fat – knowing that your results will be on TV probably inclines people to be a bit more careful about what they eat! However, it is an interesting idea and, if proven more thoroughly, would be easy to adapt in part – I will keep an ear out for more news.
One of the questions they didn’t clearly answer was whether it is about whether the benefit comes from the extended period of daily fasting or through something about diurnal and circadian rhythms in human living. How does it work in a place like Spain where they eat late but also typically have a siesta in the afternoon? It is an interesting area of research though.