The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had an article today titled “A Diet Strategy That Counts Time, Not Calories.” To my surprise, the health section of this popular newspaper was recommending a form of intermittent fasting without explicitly calling it fasting.

What is Time-Restricted Feeding

Time-restricted feeding is intermittent fasting by another name. The WSJ describes the time-restricted feeding diet as dietary regimen where you can eat whatever you want but not whenever you want. The recommended feeding window was set to a maximum of 12 hours, but the article recommends that this should ideally be cut down to 8 to 10 hours.

Weight Loss from Time-Restricted Eating

The WSJ, however, seems to miss the point when attributing the weight loss to the likely fewer calories that are ingested in the diet. Studies referenced in many of the articles on this site say otherwise: you can, in fact, lose weight while consuming the same number of calories.

The same article contradicts itself when it states that the body becomes more efficient at breaking down fat. The efficiency implies a different metabolic pathway, and what we are talking about here are ketogenesis and autophagy.

Weight loss happens because the hormonal imbalances are reset during the fasting period, and that is primarily due to the limited availability of dietary glucose for prolonged periods of time. Read “What is intermittent fasting about?”

However, the article does warn:

“This doesn’t mean you should stuff your face with cupcakes.”

Again, this is similar to my recommendation in the article on intermittent fasting, where I wrote:

“It is important to note that none of these variations ever interpret the feasting part to be high in carbohydrates. The objective is to balance the nutrients missing when targeting nutrients that target nutritional ketosis.”

Health Benefits of Time-Restricted Eating

The WSJ reported the same health benefits: lower blood pressure, improved glucose levels, increased insulin sensitivity, and physiological changes linked to slowing the aging process.

The article further references the study by Gill, Shubhroz, and Panda who tracked people’s eating habits using an app called “MyCircadianClock” and published research on the subject of restricted eating windows. Not only did their subjects lose weight by shortening the eating window, they also reported increased energy, less hunger, and better sleeping habits. Reversal of prediabetes was another benefit to some subjects with the condition.

Fasting’s Benefits to Cellular Repair

The WSJ also makes mention of the process of cellular repair that happens during the fasting period. Toxin reduction, repair of damaged DNA, and even the reduced risk of breast cancer were all referenced. These benefits were discussed in the previously written article on intermittent fasting and autophagy. The repair process is happening at the epigenetic level, and autophagy is what triggers it.

Sources

Gill, Shubhroz, and Satchidananda Panda. “A Smartphone App Reveals Erratic Diurnal Eating Patterns in Humans That Can Be Modulated for Health Benefits.” Cell metabolism 22.5 (2015): 789–798. PMC. Web. 1 Jan. 2018.

Reddy, Sumathi. “A Diet Strategy That Counts Time, Not Calories.” The Wall Street Journal, 31 Dec 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-diet-strategy-that-counts-time-not-calories-1514721601. Accessed 1 Jan 2018.