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Meal timing helps suppress appetite

Tristan Manalac
03 Aug 2019
Surviving without food: Is it possible?

Restricting the timing of food intake facilitates weight loss not by altering energy expenditure but by regulating appetite, according to a recent study.

“Aligning food intake with circadian rhythms may therefore be a powerful strategy for reducing appetite and losing weight,” said researchers. “The subset of meal-timing interventions that involve intermittent fasting, such as time-restricted feeding, may confer additional metabolic advantages by improving metabolic flexibility and increasing 24-hour fat oxidation.”

Eleven overweight adults (mean age, 32±7 years; seven males) were included in the randomized, crossover, isocaloric, controlled feeding trial. After the early time-restricted feeding (eTRF) condition, appetite between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM was significantly suppressed (p0.05), while all five indicators were increased at bedtime (10:30 PM; p0.007). [Obesity 2019;doi:10.1002/oby.22518]

The five appetite indicators used were hunger, desire to eat, capacity to eat, fullness and stomach fullness. None were significantly altered by eTRF at breakfast (8:00 AM; p=0.09 for capacity to eat, p0.39 for the other) or in the middle of the evening (8:00 PM; p0.27).

Overall, the eTRF regimen suppressed the daily amplitudes in hunger (change, –10±3 mm; p=0.006) and desire to eat (change, –9±5; p=0.09), while also reducing the mean desire to eat (change, 5±2 mm; p=0.08) and increasing mean stomach fullness (change, 3±2 mm; p=0.06) and fullness (change, 3±2 mm; p=0.10).

At the same time, eTRF elicited a significant dip in morning concentrations of active ghrelin (change, –43±15 pg/mL; p=0.009), leptin (change, –4±1 ng/mL; p=0.01) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (change, –0.8±0.3 pmol/mL; p=0.008). Ghrelin was likewise reduced during evenings (change, –22±12 pg/mL; p=0.09) while peptide YY3-36  levels were increased (PYY; change, 17±6 pg/mL; p=0.02).

“We found that eTRF lowered mean values of the hunger hormone ghrelin (mostly in the morning) as well as increased levels of the satiety hormone PYY in the middle of the evening,” corroborating the patterns obtained when using appetite indicators, said researchers.

“Surprisingly and paradoxically, eTRF reduced swings in hunger (i.e., reduced the diurnal amplitude of hunger), making hunger levels more even-keeled throughout the day, which may reduce overeating or binge eating,” they noted.

Despite such changes in appetite and satiety markers, researchers observed no significant effect of eTRF on energy expenditure. While there was a daytime excess in energy expenditure after food restriction (change, 56±15 kcal per 12 hours; p=0.003), this was offset by a drop in expenditure during nighttime (change, –46±6 kcal per 12 hours; p<0.0001).

Overall, the net effect of eTRF on energy expenditure failed to reach statistical significance (p=0.55).

“[O]ur data suggest that meal-timing interventions facilitate weight loss primarily by suppressing appetite,” said researchers. “Although we were not powered to detect differences in 24-hour energy expenditure as small as approximately 20 to 40 kcal/d, such small differences are considered clinically insignificant.”

“Further research is needed to determine the effects of meal timing on energy and fat metabolism,” they added.

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Most Read Articles
Roshini Claire Anthony, 11 Sep 2019

Beta-blockers could reduce mortality risk in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and moderate or moderately-severe renal dysfunction without causing harm, according to the BB-META-HF* trial presented at ESC 2019.

Elvira Manzano, 4 days ago

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), in an update of its 2013 recommendations, called on clinicians to offer risk-reducing medications to women who are at increased risk for breast cancer but at low risk for adverse effects.

Pearl Toh, 5 days ago
The use of SGLT-2* inhibitors was not associated with a higher risk of severe or nonsevere urinary tract infections (UTIs) in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) compared with DPP**-4 inhibitors or GLP-1*** receptor agonists, a population-based cohort study shows.
14 Sep 2019
In type 2 diabetes patients taking sulfonylureas, hypoglycaemia duration is longer at night and is inversely correlated with the level of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), a new study reports.