Ultimate Guide to Time-Restricted Eating and Benefits

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Ultimate Guide to Time-Restricted Eating and Benefits

So many fad diets focus solely on what we eat and not the why, when, or how

However, a new study from the journal Cell Metabolism found that the later people ate during the day, the more hungry they were throughout the day. 

Part of losing weight is limiting our desire to snack and overeat, contributing greatly to weight gain. That’s why most mainstream diet plans forgo simple carbs for high-protein meals or complex carbohydrates that help us fight snack cravings. 

The science is simple; to lose weight, you need to consume less than your basal metabolic rate (or how many calories your metabolism burns). 

One way to accomplish this is to eat less. But that may be difficult to do when you eat your meals socially or if your meals don’t make you feel full. 

One ancient hack humans had learned long ago is the practice of fasting, which can cleanse the body of toxins and also turn it into a fat-burning machine. Time-restricted eating offers a modernized approach that has shown universally positive results.

As you’ll find out, by controlling when we eat, we can program our bodies to work for us instead of against us. 

What is Time-Restricted Eating?

Time-restricted eating is a dietary approach that limits the number of hours individuals can consume calories to a small 6-12 hour window. 

While I mentioned fasting before, time-restricted eating does not involve calorie restrictions like intermittent fasting. As a result, time-restricted eating allows people to eat as much as they want within their eating window but gives the body time to digest and burn excess fat before their next eating window. 

The body relies on excess glucose stored from carbohydrates for up to eight hours before tapping into fat reserves. So by giving the body time to burn off excess glucose and sugars, it allows the body to burn fat for fuel. 

Strangely enough, the biggest benefit of time-restricted eating might be for your sleep. Research shows that time-restricted eating can improve our circadian rhythm and help us sleep better.

So why is this important? According to one study, people who slept less during a 14-day period had a 55% decline in fat loss. 

Not only do we burn calories during sleep, but our sleep impacts our hormones and hunger level. In sum, not eating 3-4 hours before bed on a time-restricted eating schedule will help our sleep and help our bodies burn more calories. 


Time-restricted eating is a dietary approach that allows people to consume as many calories as they want within a 6-12 hour window. This helps people tap into fat stores and sleep better, which allows them to lose weight more easily. 


Does Time-Restricted Eating Work?

Research shows that time-restricted eating is beneficial, though not more beneficial than a low-calorie diet. A recent New York Times article found that time-restricted eating had no additional benefits when paired with a calorie-restriction diet–though patients still lost weight. 

However, additional research from the JAMA Network found that moving time-restricted windows to earlier in the day (7 am to 3 pm) did improve weight loss results, blood pressure, and other biomarkers. 

Furthermore, studies in mice have found that timing when you eat calories can impact gene expressions and your circadian rhythm, influencing a range of factors, including your sleep, blood pressure, and heart health. 

While time-restricted eating may not be better than a low-calorie diet short-term, we do know that calorie deprivation lowers our metabolism, which causes many people to regain the weight they lose. 

Time-restricted windows without calorie deprivation don’t impact our metabolisms as long as we consume at least 200-300 below our basal metabolic rate

In sum, time-restricted eating’s benefits may help other processes that influence weight loss, most notably sleep. Further, research points out that the earlier you close your time-restricted window, the better it is for your health. 



Time-restricted eating is effective for weight loss–especially the earlier in the day you eat–and may be more effective long-term than low-calorie diets. 


Benefits of Time-Restricted Eating

  • Eat Less: While time-restricted eating does not involve calorie restriction, limiting when you eat will prevent you from overeating and snacking outside of your eating windows.  
  • Improved Sleep: Eating before bed impairs your sleep, so people recommend not eating 3-4 hours before bed. 
  • Improved Heart Health: Some studies suggest that time-restricted eating could help lower bad cholesterol, improving your heart health. 
  • Lower Blood Pressure and Sugar: Researchers have shown that time-restricted eating can help reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels. 
  • Improved Quality of Life: Time-restricted eating allows people to eat normal meals without significant calorie restrictions and still enjoy weight loss benefits. 

Is Time-Restricted Eating Good for You?


Yes, time-restricted eating is good for you if practiced responsibly. Unlike fasting, there is very little risk to your body of fainting or consuming too few calories. 

However, eating your normal or recommended amount of calories within a window without overdoing it is essential. 

Overall, time-restricted eating has proven helpful for weight loss and provides several other benefits. 


There are very few health risks to time-restricted eating, and it has several proven benefits. 


What is the Best Time-Restricted Eating Schedule?

As a general rule, the earlier in the day you eat and the smaller your schedule, the more benefits you will reap. 

As previously stated, researchers from the JAMA Network found that eating between 7 am and 3 pm produced the highest benefits for individuals, including weight loss and improved mood. 

Eating earlier allows you to consume most of your calories early, so you have more time to burn them during the day. 

Plus, early schedules allow you to fuel up before and after the gym if you exercise, further compounding your weight loss benefits. 



Research suggests eating between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. is the best schedule. Generally, the earlier and smaller the schedule, the more you benefit. 

How to Start Time-Restricted Eating

Starting a time-restricted schedule may require you to shuffle around a few things in your life to accommodate your new eating schedule. So here’s how to get started. 

Pick a Schedule

First, pick an eating window of 10-12 hours to get started to ease you into the process. Since most nutritionists recommend eating early, consider starting your schedule at your normal wake-up time and adding up the hours. So if you wake up at 8 am, end your schedule for a 10-hour window at 6 p.m. with no food after that time. 

I recommend ending your eating window 3-4 hours before bed so that you can improve your sleep and burn calories while you sleep. 

Don’t Skip Breakfast Entirely

It’s very tempting for people who practice intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating to forgo breakfast and eat later in the day.

Well, not only does a later schedule impact your sleep, but studies show that a big breakfast will actually curb your hunger throughout the day. 

It turns out breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  

Time Workouts Around Eating Windows

Eating before and after a workout allows you to fuel up for the gym, so you stay more motivated and build muscle, which tears through calories. 

In addition, you’ll be able to put those calories to work immediately after you start eating. 

Again, morning exercise offers the best benefits, so if you have to adjust your schedule to wake up earlier and go to bed earlier, I highly recommend it. 

Skip the Snacks

While time-restricted eating doesn’t restrict your calories, I highly recommend you lay off of the snacks during your window. The more you snack and the later you do, the hungrier you will be later in the day, making it harder to stick to your eating windows. 

Watch What You Eat

Time-restricted eating is not an excuse to eat whatever you want, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Replacing simple sugars with complex carbs and fiber that help us feel fuller for longer will help us reduce snacking and avoid overeating during our eating windows. 

Besides, you want to get as many nutrients as possible during your eating window to feel satiated and energized during the day. 

Stick to Your Schedule

Finally, you need to stick to your eating schedule if you want to see positive results. While results will not be instantaneous, they will arrive slowly. 

One or two cheat days are not the end of the world, but the more you break your fasting window, the harder it will be to maintain consistency. 

In sum, time-restricted eating has been demonstrated to be an effective tool for weight loss.  

Be sure to develop an eating schedule that works for you, though you may derive more benefits from an earlier eating schedule. Whatever you decide, be sure to stick with your schedule and go back to it, even if you have a few cheat days here or there.

Time-Restricted Eating FAQs

Can you drink coffee while time-restricted eating?

Yes, drinking black coffee does not break your fast. With that said, it’s important to drink your coffee black, though adding some healthy fats won’t be the end of the world. Just avoid sugar and creamer. 

Does time-restricted eating slow your metabolism?

Generally, time-restricted eating should not slow your metabolism if you do not limit your calories too significantly. As a rule, I recommend my patients not deprive themselves of over 200-300 calories below their basal metabolic rate

What is the difference between time-restricted eating and intermittent fasting?

Time-restricted eating places greater emphasis on eating within a specific time window, allowing you to eat whatever you want within that window. On the other hand, intermittent fasting may involve calorie restriction and prolonged fasting from time to time.

If you enjoyed this article, check out my Seriously Simple Steps program and learn how to take charge of your health and fitness.

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Skip the Fad Diets. This is the Hottest New Health Craze

Skip the Fad Diets. This is the Hottest New Health Craze

The cat is out of the bag. The genie is out of the bottle. I noticed it a few years ago while traveling on the West Coast and then in Colorado. I see it happening all around us, and I am really impressed with this new “craze.”

It’s the new fad in diets, the next big thing, the new magic trick to losing weight, building more energy, and feeling great while becoming healthier is (drum roll please….) eating healthy foods! 

Eating natural and freshly grown foods, as our ancestors did, is at long last becoming popular once again. Likewise, consuming processed foods and processed carbs seems to be on the way out. 

Weight loss is nearly inevitable when we shift away from processed foods and starts almost immediately for those transforming their diet. I have noticed this trend with many of my patients and friends, as well as with myself. 

For example, I’ve been making healthy smoothies for breakfast and snacks for several years. I’ve also been juicing vegetables and fruits for one full day every week. I see many others following suit. 

Practically every single day, I meet another happy convert in my practice or in public. And why are they so happy? They see and feel results within days of improving their diet! 

So the questions become, are fad diets actually effective, and what is the best way to lose weight? Make sure you read to the bottom to find 5 Healthy Eating Habits that Lead to Weight Loss.

The Problem with Fad Diets

Many nutritionists and doctors always warn against fad diets. However, many of us are inundated by influencers across the web who share results from their journey with keto and actually lose weight. 

So what is the disconnect? 

While fad diets may offer short-term weight loss results, they often don’t offer sustainable results. In my practice, I’ve noticed people who shed lots of weight put the weight back on and then some. 

According to a study of contestants from one season of the Biggest Loser, almost all of the 14 contestants who lost weight put it back on, plus more weight on top of it. However, there are many reasons for this trend. 


First and foremost, most diets, including Keto, Paleo, Atkins, or South Beach, can be highly difficult to maintain over a lifetime. For example, it’s difficult for people to avoid carbs for the rest of their life, which is why a majority of people who go on Keto fail. 

Other restrictive diets suffer from this same dilemma. However, more dangerous to the individual than the restriction of certain tasty foods is the number of nutritional deficiencies that can occur from fad diets. 

Nutritional Concerns

Dieting requires balance, which is typically not promoted by fad diets. For example, many fad diets place people into significant calorie deficits, which can eat away at muscles and make people feel sluggish and tired. 

Other diets may promote too much of one thing, such as protein and fats, at the behest of carbs, leading to an unbalanced diet. 

Overall, individuals who experience dehydration, excessive hunger, or fatigue should quit a fad diet immediately before harming their body or liver. 

Miscalculating Metabolism

Unfortunately, our bodies have evolved over time to ensure we always have the proper fuel for essential bodily processes. While suitable for survival, this makes weight loss difficult.

Studies show that extensive caloric deficits decrease your body’s basal metabolic rate, meaning even though you consume fewer calories, your body is burning less for survival. In turn, eating what would have been a normal portion of food two months ago will now lead to weight gain. 

Another reason fad diets can fail is that they target the wrong things, such as water weight, which only delivers short-term results. 

What We Eat Matters as Much as How Much We Eat

When it comes to dieting and weight loss, willpower becomes very important. While eating fewer calories than your basal metabolic rate (if done appropriately) will help you lose weight, this is highly difficult if your diet is filled with processed foods. 

Unfortunately, many processed foods strip the fiber and water content out of foods, meaning that they are digested faster and leave people unsatisfied. Eating more fibrous foods, such as fruits and vegetables, will help you stay fuller for longer and allow you to eat fewer calories to feel full. 

Additionally, other complex carbohydrates also are released into the bloodstream more slowly, allowing people to feel longer. If overeating or lack of self-control is an issue, eating high-fiber foods is a great solution.

I’ve witnessed this principle in action in my personal practice. For example, I just ran into a colleague who lost 30 pounds over the past six months. He looked great, and I asked what he had been doing and how he had found success. 

He explained that he had read just a few of my blogs about eating healthy and followed my lead on eating more naturally and “crowding out”  processed foods slowly over time. He has been filling up on smoothies for breakfast and big salads for lunch and dinner. He supplements his diet all day with fruits. He says he is never hungry and now has more energy than ever!

Overall, what you eat greatly influences how much you are likely to eat. 

Why Healthy Eating Is Becoming so Popular

If the rise of diet fads indicates anything, it’s that people are searching for healthier solutions to the processed foods we eat every day. 

Everywhere I go, I notice people who avoid sandwiches and processed carbs by ordering healthy salads and entrees without bread, pasta, rice, and starches. 

While traveling to the West Coast several years ago, I noticed that most restaurants, convenience stores, and food outlets offer healthy smoothies, vegetarian options, and natural foods. These healthy offerings were ubiquitous on every menu, sign, and advertisement. 

This obviously makes it easier for people to choose healthy options and the people in that area seemed healthier, thinner, and more vibrant. 

In some ways, the move to greener and healthier options represents two significant shortcomings of fad diets. First, they simply are not as effective as eating healthy foods and adopting healthy eating habits. 

Secondly, many diet fads are not convenient, especially for people on the go. For example, someone on the keto diet has very few options for eating at a takeout restaurant aside from taking the bun off of their burger. Even getting fruits or a salad with dressing can cause them to abandon ketosis. 

Instead, adopting healthy habits like eating healthy foods with better nutritional content and eating food more slowly can lead to better results. 

5 Healthy Eating Habits that Lead to Weight Loss

This leads me to another important point: how you eat your food is just as important as what you eat. 

This may be a surprise to modern Americans conditioned on indulgence instead of austerity. 

However, managing weight loss and eating healthy comes with adopting the right habits. Here are five important healthy eating habits that everyone should adopt to be more healthy. 

  • Limit sugar intake

One reason to read labels is to avoid sugar, which is a fast-acting carbohydrate that can spike insulin levels, damage the gut, and make us crave more food. Replacing sugar with complex carbs will not only curb cravings but also give you more essential nutrients. 

  • Supplement meals with high-fiber foods

If you’re looking for a quick snack or meal to curb cravings, opt for a high-fiber vegetable or fruit. Fiber is great for digestion and is more slowly absorbed by the bloodstream, helping us feel fuller for longer. 

  • Hydrate before meals

Another way to cheat your body and feel fuller with fewer calories is to consume more water before meals. Water fills our stomachs, slows digestion in our stomach, and helps us feel fuller while giving us much-needed hydration

  • Consume meals slowly

According to research, it takes up to 20 minutes for our bodies to signal to our brains that we are full. Unfortunately, by eating as quickly as possible, we bypass this mechanism and consume more than our bodies are willing to handle. Overeating doesn’t just put your diet at risk but could lead to digestive issues, such as reflux and gallbladder issues. 

  • Eat More High-Protein Foods

Supplementing heavy-calorie meals with high-protein meals is a great way to feel satiated faster and also stimulate ATP production in cells that help burn more calories. Thanks to the latter, adding more protein to meals can help you burn more calories at rest.

However, I highly suggest eating plant-based proteins that are not high in saturated fats and give you all of your necessary vitamins and minerals. 

You have already arrived at my program website for Seriously Simple Steps, which covers the topic of eating healthy foods throughout the program, and provides more detailed lists of the types of foods you can consume to help you reach your weight and fitness goals. Check out the program today

You Can’t Shortcut Weight Loss

As I’ve witnessed in my practice, fad diets are highly unsustainable and sometimes dangerous. Now, this doesn’t mean some diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, are bad diets, but that eating a balanced diet and adopting healthy eating habits are just as important for weight loss. 

Most importantly, there is no magic pill or smoothie to promote total weight loss. Physical health, like mental health, requires adopting a disciplined and balanced approach that may take months, if not years, to achieve that payout we all desire. 

However, we should be thankful that by adopting these healthy habits, we can hold onto them for life and use them in other areas in our life that would not be possible if dieting was as easy as taking a pill or eating the same protein shake day in and day out. 

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