Limiting Eating To 8-12 Hour Period Causes Weight Loss, Diabetes Reversal In Mice


These mice consumed the same high-fat diet and the same number of calories. The one on the left (FA) was free to eat those calories at any time of the day or night, FT ate only during an 8 hour period.

This is remarkable…

If you can limit your eating from 8 to 12 hours a day, say from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, you may be able to lose weight easier and reverse diabetes. The passive activity, if you will, of not eating for 12 to 16 hours a day actually burns more calories than if you spread the same amount of food out during the day (and night). That’s what researchers at the Salk Institute in California are discovering from their studies in mice:

Here’s their newest study, along with a graphic that describes their findings:

Time-Restricted Feeding Is A Preventative And Therapeutic Intervention Against Diverse Nutritional Challenges, Cell Metabolism, 2 December 2014


And here’s their prior study and graphic. The title of this study sums it up:

Time-Restricted Feeding Without Reducing Caloric Intake Prevents Metabolic Diseases In Mice Fed A High-Fat Diet, Cell Metabolism, June 2012


Notice that the time-restricted mice were eating the same food, and the same amount of calories as those who ate whenever they wanted throughout the day and night, yet they ended up leaner. And if they were obese to begin with, they dropped weight merely by limiting the time they ate, not how much or what they ate:

More importantly, for the mice that had already become obese by eating a freely available high-fat diet, researchers restricted their food access to a nine-hour window. Although the mice continued to consume the same number of calories, they dropped body weight by five percent within a few days. Importantly, eating this way prevented the mice from further weight gain (by about 25 percent by the end of the 38-week study) compared to the group kept on the freely available high-fat diet.
Another Case Against The Midnight Snack, Salk Researchers Tinker With A Time-restricted Diet In Mice And Find That It Is Remarkably Forgiving, The Salk Institute, Press Release, 2 December 2014

It didn’t matter whether their diets were high in fat, high in sugar, or high in fructose. And what happened when they ate a normal, healthier diet? Did they lose even more weight? No, they maintained a healthy weight, but they gained muscle mass.

So, limiting eating to 8 or 9 hours a day protected them against obesity, hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, fatty liver, inflammation, and bestowed better motor coordination. If this effect holds true in humans, it would be an absolute confounder in diet studies. What was causing weight loss? The diet or when the participants ate the diet?

5 thoughts on “Limiting Eating To 8-12 Hour Period Causes Weight Loss, Diabetes Reversal In Mice

  1. Darryl

    Mice are nocturnal animals, and the 12h light/darkness cycles of the laboratory, where food is available during the “day”, perhaps disrupts their circadian cycles. I’m not sure this result is applicable to humans (though I try to eat most calories at breakfast and lunch).

    1. Bix Post author

      ? The restricted mice were fed at night, a time they normally ate (“time-restricted access to food during their natural nocturnal feeding time”). The graphic depicts this.

  2. Bix Post author

    I came across this book on Amazon, The 8-Hour Diet. I’m not plugging it or anything, I haven’t read it. But the comments (I know, testimonials, still) attest to some effectiveness.

    Eating for just 8 hours a day would be something like 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. That’s a tight range!

    1. shaun

      Sounds like a tight range, but flip it. Skip breakfast, and your looking at ~11:00-7:00.

      Coincidentally, I’ve been eating that way for years. Not for any perceived benefits. I simply seldom eat breakfast.


  3. Pingback: Eating A Big Breakfast And A Small Dinner Leads To Lower Blood Sugars Throughout The Day | Fanatic Cook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s