What is Time Restricted Eating (TRE)?

The most popular form of intermittent fasting now being practiced, time-restricted eating emphasizes the timing of your meals. During this type of fast, eating is limited to a certain number of hours each day. Rather than focus on calories and foods, TRE puts limits on the amount of time spent eating. Someone following a TRE program will only eat during a specific window of time each day.  By shortening the number of hours you eat during each 24-hour cycle, you’re likely to consume less food and thus take in fewer calories. Because TRE focuses on when you eat as opposed to what you eat, it can be paired with other food-specific diets for enhanced results.

Types of TRE diets include 12:12 Circadian which is very common, and during which you eat for 12 hours, and fast for 12 hours each day. Circadian Rhythm or Day and Night rhythm is an imprinted clock in our organs and systems, and respecting it by not eating during the night mirrors this internal clock. This discovery was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2017. Circadian TRE balances periods of food intake with periods of no food intake so that the body spends the calories it ingested rather than being in frequent periods of calorie intake and storage in the form of fat, which could result in obesity. For example, you might observe this version of fasting by not eating between from 8pm to 8am which could help you maintain a healthy body weight.

The 16:8 diet is fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8. At this point in time, without conclusive data, it is unknown if this type of fasting is more or less suitable than other fasting methods for people who are concerned with better weight management.

Potential challenges include an extra 4 hours (12-16 hour) of no food ingestion, which could lead to health risks.