There are so many different meal plans out there—Whole30, Paleo, keto—all of which promise a substantially better quality of life. What's more, some people turn to these meal plans in the short term to prepare for an important event or to reach a certain fitness goal. But long term, do those methods of eating really work for everyone? It depends.
Instead of restricting your diet, new research suggests that when you choose to eat matters more than what you choose to eat, according to News.com.au. And per a new study in Cell Metabolism, you should be eating for an eight-hour period each day. For example, you'd have breakfast around 10 a.m., lunch at 1 or 2 p.m., and dinner no later than 6 p.m. The researchers found that mice who ate a high-fat diet but limited consumption to an eight-hour period each day were protected from weight gain, diabetes, and liver disease. Mice that ate an identical diet over a long period of time did not have the same health benefits.
The reasoning behind this is that when you’re constantly consuming food, your body goes into “storage mode,” meaning you gain weight. When you don’t eat for longer periods of time—like on an eight-hour diet—your liver stops letting glucose out into your bloodstream and instead uses it to repair the body’s cells. Whether you start eating later on in the day or have your largest meal at lunch (followed by an early snack for dinner), leaving 12 to 16 hours without food in a 24-hour period is optimal.
Be sure to read about the foods you should eat to stay full longer, and tell us whether you'd ever try an eight-hour diet in the comments.