Time-Restricted Eating Benefits

Metabolic syndrome is defined by the presence of multiple, related risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is highly prevalent, affecting 30% of the U.S. population, and confers a 5-fold increase in the risk of T2DM and doubles the risk for CVD over 5-10 years. 

Some features of metabolic syndrome include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, a proinflammatory and prothrombotic state, and atherogenic dyslipidemia, with high triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol, and low HDL cholesterol levels. 

Critical lifestyle interventions have to be made in order to treat metabolic syndrome and avoid progression to T2DM.

Time-Restricted Eating 

Time-restricted eating (TRE) is an emerging dietary intervention that aims to maintain a consistent daily cycle of feeding and fasting to support robust circadian rhythms. Circadian regulation of the endocrine system, autonomic nervous system, and nutrient metabolism contribute to metabolic and physiological homeostasis.

Observational studies in humans have also shown a correlation between irregular eating times and increased risk for metabolic syndrome and other cardiometabolic diseases. On the other hand, animal studies have shown that TRE can prevent metabolic diseases. There is potential for humans to adopt TRE for health benefits. 

New Clinical Trial 

In a recently published study, researchers from UC San Diego, California evaluated the use of TRE in 19 participants with metabolic syndrome. The results appear in the journal Cell Metabolism. 

16 of the 19 participants were taking at least one medication, and 3 were taking no medications. The participants underwent a 10-hour of TRE (all dietary intake within a consistent self-selected 10-hour window) for 12 weeks. 

The researchers found that the TRE intervention improved cardiometabolic health for patients with metabolic syndrome receiving standard medical care including high rates of statin and antihypertensive medications. 

The team also noticed a significant reduction in body weight from baseline, with an average reduction of 275 g/week. Reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were also observed. 

Fasting glucose levels also improved, with an average reduction of 5.7±13.54 mg/dL. A significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure was also observed (−5.12±9.51 mmHg). 

The researchers concluded that a 10-hour TRE intervention can serve as a novel treatment for individuals with metabolic syndrome, without an overt attempt to change physical activity or diet quality or quantity. 


Wilkinson MJ, et al. Ten-Hour Time-Restricted Eating Reduces Weight, Blood Pressure, and Atherogenic Lipids in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome. Cell Metab. 2020 Jan 7;31(1):92-104.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2019.11.004. Epub 2019 Dec 5. PMID: 31813824; PMCID: PMC6953486. 

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