Pam Taub, M.D.

Residents who limit their daily food intake to a 10-hour window may lose weight, lower their blood pressure and gain more stable insulin levels, a pilot study has found.

Researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reported that a form of intermittent fasting, called time-restricted eating, improved the health of study participants in whom metabolic syndrome had been diagnosed.

For the investigation, participants who restricted their eating to 10 or fewer hours over a dozen weeks lost weight, reduced abdominal fat, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol and had more stable blood sugar and insulin levels.

Researchers believe that time-restricted eating may allow individuals to eat in a manner that supports their circadian rhythms and their health. These rhythms are the 24-hour cycles of biological processes that affect the body at the cellular level.

“As a cardiologist, I find it is very hard to get patients with pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome to make lasting and meaningful lifestyle changes,” said Pam Taub, M.D., co-corresponding author. “There is a critical window for intervention with metabolic syndrome. Once people become diabetic or are on multiple medications, such as insulin, it’s very hard to reverse the disease process,” Taub added.Full findings appear in the Dec. 5 issue of Cell Metabolism.