During the fasting period, participants were encouraged to stay hydrated with water. Each day, they logged the timing of their meals and their sleep in an app.
“We saw a 3% reduction in their weight and a 4% reduction in abdominal visceral fat,” says Taub.
“We didn’t ask them to change what they eat,” she explains, though participants consumed about 8.6% fewer calories — likely as a result of the limited eating window.
In addition to the weight loss, “we saw that cholesterol levels improved and blood pressure [levels] also improved,” Taub explains. There was also some reported improvement in sleep quality, and many of the participants reported more energy.
“We are surprised that this small change in eating time would give them such a huge benefit,” says Satchidananda Panda, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and a co-author of the study. Panda and Taub have some theories that may help explain the reduction in belly fat and weight loss.