A useful little software was made to help better control your diet, as two scientists made an app that can help cut down on unhealthy eating habits by recording your patterns and restricting the time you spend indulging in food every day. The purpose of the study was to research the effects of food timing.
- The app recorded the eating patterns of 150 participants, between 21-55 years old over 3 weeks
- They found that people consume 25% of calories before midday, and 33% after 6 PM
- People spend an average of eating over a 15 hour period per day
- By reducing that time to 10-11 hours per day, overweight participants lost 3.5% of their excess body weight
- The app is available for download at mycircadianclock.org
Researchers from Salk Institute have conducted a study on 150 participants, who volunteered to download their app and take daily pictures of what they eat or drink during a period of 3 weeks. They were all healthy adults, between the ages of 21 and 55 years old, who did not undertake any sort of weight loss program within the past 6 months before the study.
The hypothesis was that by objectively observing patterns of food intake, users could be provided with a feeding schedule that would both cut down on unhealthy habits and prevent “metabolic jetlag”, defined as irregular eating times. It disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm, or body clock, because of the random patterns of meals from one day to another.
The participants were asked to snap pictures of everything they ate, no matter how inconsequential, or what they drank, even water, and use the app to provide them with the location, date, and time stamp along with the photo. It’s essentially what a lot of people on Instagram already do, but with the purpose of research this time.
It helped researchers draw conclusions and figure out patterns that could be altered for better health.
The results showed that a majority of people eat over a 15 hour period of the time they spend awake, with 25% of their calories consumed before midday, and over 33% after 6 PM. They wished to test and answer the question whether restricting the period of eating could be efficient in weight loss.
They found that, on average, Americans drink milk or coffee and eat yogurt in the morning, drink tea and eat sandwiches or burgers in the afternoon, and drink alcohol and eat vegetables or ice cream at night. Chocolate and candy were present at all times during the day after 10 AM.
The app created a “feedogram” that recorded their patterns, and allowed them to properly assess the benefits of restricting the eating period of the average user. According to senior author of the study Satchidananda Panda, the study focused on how much better it would be if the consumer could “keep the whole body on the same circadian clock” day by day.
To answer their question, the researchers conducted another test on 8 overweight participants, by reducing their eating time period to 10 or 11 hours per day, without changing their normal diets. They found that that simple reduction led to 3.5% loss of their body weight after 16 weeks.
It has led to the suggestion eating over shorter periods of time can indeed help weight loss and possibly provide with health benefits.
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