Sticking to a 10-hour eating window, also known as intermittent fasting, is linked to decreased abdominal fat, stable blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and more health benefits, according to a recent study. The results were published in a recent article in the journal Cell Metabolism, and could provide a path to use intermittent fasting as a means to treat type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

“We have found that combining time-restricted eating with medications can give metabolic syndrome patients the ability to better manage their disease,” Satchidananda Panda, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement.

For the study, 13 men and six women diagnosed with metabolic syndrome—a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, excess body fat, and high triglyceride levels—were asked to only eat within 10 hours of the day and only drink water for the other 14. Of the participants, 84 percent were taking medication for their metabolic syndrome. They logged their food intake in an app during the three-month study period.

Most participants skipped breakfast and ate dinner earlier in the day to ensure they followed the 10-hour eating window rule. Overall, participants saw a 3-4 percent drop in body weight and abdominal fat circumference—abdominal fat has been identified as the most deadly type of fat, and has been linked to a number of diseases.

“Adapting this 10-hour time-restricted eating is an easy and cost-effective method for reducing symptoms of metabolic syndrome and improving health,” Panda added.

This is not the first study to link intermittent fasting to improved health, but the researchers of this one believe the method works so well because they say erratic eating behaviors, or “traditional eating,” disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, thereby increasing the risk of metabolic syndrome. The same scientists are looking to conduct another study, but with more participants to see if the same changes are reflected.

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