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Time-Restricted Eating. How And Why?

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Have you been told that late-night snacking is bad? that leads to overweight and poor quality of sleep. Do you know why? Do you know that if you don’t have that late-night snacks, you won’t only avoid health issues, but will also improve some other aspects of your life? Keep reading to find out more.

In the last blog, we learned about the circadian clock. The internal synchronizing machine controls the sleep-wake cycle. But as we already know, everything is connected in our body and if one system is disrupted or disrespected, another one gets out of balance as well.

In today's blog, we are going to learn how the sleep-wake cycle is connected to digestion, and how late-night eating can be very detrimental to your health.

How sleep-wake cycle and digestion are connected?

We already know that the circadian clock is the internal mechanism that is activated by light and controls the smooth running of our system, called the body. In the morning, as the eyes see light, the circadian clock sends signals to other areas of the body to raise its temperature and blood pressure. It slows down the secretion of melatonin (the hormones that make us sleep) and starts the production of the hormone cortisol (responsible for alertness, focus, and activity).

Along with the process of waking up, is the process of speeding up our metabolism. Think about it. We need the energy to perform various tasks, and that energy can only come from food. This is why usually we have breakfast in the morning. It is not a societal norm. Our body demands it. But why?

We are diurnal creatures, which means that we are active during the day and sleep during the night. This means that digestion is active during the day as well. So, metabolism, enzymes, insulin sensitivity, etc.., which are essential for digestion are getting activated by everything that can be metabolized. In other words, everything that is not water.

So far everything seems pretty simple, and it really is. The tricky part, however, is this:

Those enzymes are working on a 12-hour clock as well. Meaning that 12 hours after you have activated them, they start to shut down. Digestion, insulin resistance, fatty acids metabolizing its…

The problem is that we keep eating after those 12 hours. Think about it. If we have our first cup of coffee at 8 am this is when the clock starts. Add 10 to 12, which means that by 8 pm we have to be done eating. But how many of us are following it. I mean, I had dinner at 10 pm yesterday, and it is pretty hard not to, as the day is longer now, and we are simply more active.

However, it is worth trying.

There is a study, where scientists took two groups of mice. One group was eating a healthy diet. The other one was literally eating crap. None of the groups were on time-restricted eating, meaning that they were eating whenever they want. The results were as you would expect. The group that ate healthily, did not gain extra weight or change significantly the digestion. The other group, on the other hand, gain tons of weight, got type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, etc.

So, of course, if you eat a healthy diet everything is going to be ok and if you eat bad quality food you probably going to end up sick.

The interesting fact is that scientists took the same group of mice that were eating a healthy diet and fed it only within 10 hours window. Are you ready? The mice gained muscle mass and had improved endurance.

How crazy is that? But it makes sense though. If you not only give your body the preferred nutrients but also give them in the best time possible to process, your body is going to work even better.

You can try it yourself. In fact is found that you are going to have the same effects even with two days of. So technically you can have the weekends off, enjoying with your friends, and still have the benefits of it.

It is called time-restricted eating. It is very different than fasting.

Fasting is another form of starving your body, aiming for smaller feeding windows at any time of the 24 hours cycle. The idea of time-restricted eating is to feed your body within the best time possible for digesting the food. It is found to be 10 to 12 hours, during the day.

There are numbers of apps you can use to time it, but it is not hard to just remember when you ate and create a routine. A simple trick, if you wake up super early, could be to delay your breakfast, as well as the coffee, to give yourself more time in the afternoon.

REMEMBER. Quality food matters the most. The better the source of nutrients the more benefits for your body. However, why not further benefit it.


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