Intermittent fasting improves sleep quality, helps manage diabetes, heart disease

WASHINGTON — Intermittent fasting has become wildly popular among the dieting community over the last decade. Now, a new study is adding more fuel to that fire after researchers discovered the weight loss trend may help people better manage conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Researchers also find that intermittent fasting also helps overall sleep quality.

The authors say a time-restricted diet, where you eat your daily calories within an eight to ten-hour window, is a powerful tool in managing metabolic diseases. For people dealing with blood sugar issues, cholesterol trouble, and heart problems, losing weight is a key part of preventing serious health complications.

“People who are trying to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle should pay more attention to when they eat as well as what they eat. Time-restricted eating is an easy-to-follow and effective dietary strategy that requires less mental math than counting calories,” says Satchidananda Panda, Ph.D., from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in a media release. “Intermittent fasting can improve sleep and a person’s quality of life as well as reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.”

Panda’s team found that the expression of genes, hormone levels, and a person’s metabolism rises and falls during different times of the 24-hour day. By aligning our eating schedules with the body’s internal clock, the study finds patients with metabolic issues can reduce the health burden of several chronic diseases.

“Eating at random times breaks the synchrony of our internal program and make us prone to diseases,” Panda explains. “Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle that anyone can adopt. It can help eliminate health disparities and lets everyone live a healthy and fulfilling life.”

Previous studies have found that intermittent fasting also helps to reshape a person’s gut microbiome and even improves memory.

The study appears in the journal Endocrine Reviews.