Effects of time-restricted feeding on body weight and metabolism. A systematic review and meta-analysis


Restriction in meal timing has emerged as a promising dietary approach for the management of obesity and dysmetabolic diseases. The present systematic review and meta-analysis summarized the most recent evidence on the effect of time-restricted feeding (TRF) on weight-loss and cardiometabolic variables in comparison with unrestricted-time regimens. Studies involving TRF regimen were systematically searched up to January 2019. Effect size was expressed as weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). A total of 11 studies, 5 randomized controlled trials and 6 observational, were included. All selected studies had a control group without time restriction; hours of fasting ranged from 12-h until 20-h and study duration from 4 to 8-weeks. Most studies involved the Ramadan fasting. TRF determined a greater weight-loss than control regimens (11 studies, n = 485 subjects) (WMD: −1.07 kg, 95%CI: −1.74 to −0.40; p = 0.002; I2 = 56.2%), unrelated to study design. The subgroup analysis showed an inverse association between TRF and fat free mass in observational studies (WMD: −1.33 kg, 95%CI: −2.55 to −0.11; p = 0.03; I2 = 0%). An overall significant reduction in fasting glucose concentrations was observed with TRF regimens (7 studies, n = 363 subjects) (WMD: −1.71 mg/dL, 95%CI: −3.20 to −0.21; p = 0.03; I2 = 0%), above all in trials (WMD:-2.45 mg/dL, 95%CI: −4.72 to −0.17; p = 0.03; I2 = 0%). No between-group differences in the other variables were found. TRF regimens achieved a superior effect in promoting weight-loss and reducing fasting glucose compared to approaches with unrestricted time in meal consumption. However, long-term and well-designed trials are needed to draw definitive conclusions.

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This research was funded by a grant from the Ministry of Education, University and Research of Italy (ex-60% 2017).

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MP participated in the conception of the paper, collection and analysis of the studies, manuscript writing and revision. IC, VP, IG, EG participated in the collection of the references and interpretation, manuscript writing and revision. AE, GC participated in the statistical analyses and interpretation of the results. SB participated in conception of the paper, collection and analysis of the studies, manuscript writing and revision. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Correspondence to Bo Simona.

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Marianna, P., Iolanda, C., Andrea, E. et al. Effects of time-restricted feeding on body weight and metabolism. A systematic review and meta-analysis. Rev Endocr Metab Disord (2019) doi:10.1007/s11154-019-09524-w

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  • Fasting glucose
  • Observational studies
  • Randomized controlled trials
  • Time restricted feeding
  • Weight loss