Samantha Keener – @SKeener0924
Time-Restricted Eating is similar to another concept you’ve probably heard of called Intermittent Fasting. Like versions of Intermittent Fasting, this concept works within a 9-12 hour eating window. Both ideas restrict a person’s food and liquid (other than water) intake, but the idea of your fasting being time-restricted, as in, during specific times of the day, comes from the body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is regulated by external cues, such as light. For example, the phenomenon of your body feeling tired after the sun goes down, releasing a hormone called melatonin, and then eventually putting you to sleep is one way in which your circadian rhythm plays a role in your body.
Before I explain its relevancy, here is a brief overview of insulin. After eating, a person’s blood sugar levels will rise, signaling the release of insulin into the bloodstream. Once it reaches the bloodstream, it will attach itself to cells within your body, allowing for the use of these sugars to be stored or used as immediate energy. Without adequate insulin levels, your body would not be able to properly rid the blood of this excess sugar. We see this in Type I (autoimmune) and Type II (lifestyle) diabetes. Type I, being that a person is not able to make insulin, resulting in the need for external insulin to be injected, or Type II, showing that the body becomes resistant over time to insulin. This relates to Time-Restricted Eating when you consider that during the evening, melatonin levels will begin to rise, on average, two to three hours before a person’s habitual bedtime. New studies have shown that melatonin can and does affect the pancreas. In doing so, the melatonin is telling the pancreas to shut down the release of insulin. If a person was to eat a meal during this time of high melatonin levels, there may not be proper amounts of insulin released to maintain blood sugar, resulting in a high concentration of glucose in the body’s blood circulation for long periods of time. The problem is when this habit becomes chronic, or resulting over long periods of time, turning into a disease like Type II diabetes.
Benefits to eating during the day, or syncing to your body’s circadian rhythm, are numerous. Not having food digesting in your gut during sleep allows for your core body temperature to cool, thus having a better night’s sleep. You wake up feeling lighter, without grogginess, and full of energy. Most importantly, in my opinion, is that by fasting during the night time, you’re allowing your gut to rest. If you learn anything about your overall health, I recommend it be your gut health. Gut health is the start to many benefits and consequences to a person’s overall health.
If you find yourself intrigued by this concept, please take a look Dr. Satchin Panda’s research on this topic. You can find a lengthy Podcast featuring this work on the Found My Fitness Podcast. This Podcast is hosted by Dr. Rhonda Patrick, who is a researcher on aging, cancer, and nutrition. She’s been featured on The Joe Rogan Experience numerous times and makes learning about these kinds of topics easier by breaking the concepts down for the average person to understand.
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