If you could eat whatever you wanted with the only stipulation being you needed to stop eating for 13-16 hours would you be interested? If so then read a little further.
In round one, researchers gave two groups or laboratory mice chow that was composed of high fat chow. One group ate ad libitum (as desired) while the other group was restricted to eating only in an eight hour window. Neither group exercised. No surprise, the mice who ate ad libitum, developed classic symptoms of diabetes, but the time restricted subjects gained little weight and had no metabolic problems.
If you didn't catch the good part, The quality of the food did not matter. This was high fat chow. What mattered, was eating in a compressed time window.
Round two looked at four different blends of chow ranging from high fat to high sugar to balanced. In this study a group of mice started out eating ad libitum while others had restricted eating windows of either nine, twelve or fifteen hours.
Halfway through the study some of the mice eating around the clock, switched to a 9 or 12 hours of restriction. Some of the restricted mice even indulged in cheat meals outside of their restricted time.
In the end, the mice following the compressed eating, stayed lean, even when they consumed cheat meals. The mice that switched from ad libitum to compressed eating reversed some of deleterious impact of eating non stop. Predictably, those mice who kept the feed bag on showed similar negative signs observed in the first study.
With an even more reasonable compressed eating window of 12 hours benefits were realized.
The human implications for us should be obvious. Stop eating in the evening (sunset), and resume eating in the morning (sunrise) or about twelve-thirteen hours later. This, my friends, is a more manageable routine than some other intermittent fasting (IF) protocols that have been examined.
Jumping to conclusions from mouse studies gets a bit janky, so the Salk Institute is running a human version. Consenting study participants sign up and download an app. The requirements are minimal. As a participant one takes pictures of their meals and what time they are consumed.
Personally, I'm satisfied with the lab rat results and find this a manageable way to practice time restricted eating. As an aside, I would advise anyone to focus on food quality and even your morning coffee breaks the fast. :(
At some feature date, I will share all of my diet experiences but for now this is a great addition for your consideration.