BOTH eTRF!!!!! Finally.
Tl;dr #1: with regard to body composition, 3 protein-containing meals/d seems to be the sweet spot. Muscle likes frequent feedings, but no additional benefit is seen beyond 3x/d.
It's hard to meet protein needs and optimize protein synthesis with < 3 meals/d.
eTRF doesn't overturn The Laws of Energy Balance, but it certainly puts a nice spin on them.
According to the data, the traditional 3 meal/d eTRF is great, less hunger, more satiating, etc. Or is you want to be like some anti-aging guru and skip dinner a few times/wk & go to bed hungry for that hormetic response or something, there are data supporting that too.
The new study: eTRF with normal dinner-time but calories front-loaded 47% with breakfast, 40% with lunch, and 13% with dinner. NO SNACKS. The control group had similar meal timing but calories were more equally distributed throughout the day and included snacks in between meals.
Same calories/carbs/protein/etc in both groups, but much less hunger (P<0.05 change from baseline and between groups) and more weight loss (-5.4 kg vs. +0.3 kg in eTRF and control, respectively) in eTRF.
Don't get me wrong. With less hunger and that amount of weight loss, the eTRF group was definitely eating less... unwittingly.
Improved HbA1c, lower fasting glucose, more robust circadian signaling. This. Is. eTRF.
In a more robust study design (crossover), we have 6 vs. 2 (breakfast & lunch). Due to the nature of a crossover study, calorie-controls are more effective at minimizing differences in body weight -- although all subjects still did a little better on eTRF than grazing (-2.3 kg vs. -2.0 kg in eTRF and 6 meals/d, respectively) (P<0.001).
However, eTRF -> greater reduction in liver fat, lower fasting glucose & glucagon, improved insulin sensitivity. No change in physical activity and "a trend toward a greater decrease [in resting energy expenditure]" with 6 meals a day. I mean, come on!
eTRF: skipping dinner or just front-loading calories. Every day? A couple days a week? Might be worth a try.
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