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Is This the Key to Healthy Weight Loss?

With so many diet plans out there, it's hard to know what works and what doesn't. However, a new study may have found what is the key to permanently healthy metabolic function and weight loss.
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It seems that every week, some new study “proves” once and for all that their certain food/diet plan/supplement is the key to effective, healthy, and long-term weight loss.

However, often these approaches come with a catch, only offer short-term results, or may be unsafe and cause damage to the body’s systems. Some extreme forms of weight loss can even make your hair fall out!

Time and again, studies show that the same strategy leads to effective weight loss and metabolic function- eating healthy foods, limiting portion size, and exercising regularly.

However, when you do these habits may have more influence on your weight and thyroid function than previously thought.

A new study published in the journal Cell Metabolism in 2014 has found that when you eat, and more importantly, what space between meals, is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy weight and metabolism. Read more about this intriguing study below.

What the Study Found

The study researchers wanted to identify if the time of eating or the length between meals had any influence on the health of lab mice. The researchers found that when they restricted the ability of the mice to eat within a 9 to 12 hour window each day (sometimes called intermittent fasting), that obese mice lost weight and lean mice stayed lean. When they allowed obese and fit mice to eat without restriction throughout the day, even when they offered the same amount of calories to the mice, the mice gained weight.

The researchers divided the mice into four groups during the study, offering each a different diet. Some received high-fat diets, others high-sugar diets, another group got high-fat and high-sugar, and the fourth group at regular mouse food. In each group, some mice were allowed to eat whenever they wanted and others were only given access to foods within a window between 9 and 15 hours a day. After 38 weeks, the mice who ate at all times were obese, while the restricted eating mice (who ate within a 12 hour window or shorter) were lean.

The researchers also found that mice remained lean even when they ate regimented during the week and freely during the weekend. Mice switched from the endless eating plan to the restricted eating plan also lost weight.

According to the study authors, “Time-restricted eating didn’t just prevent but also reversed obesity.” The study authors do not have a clear reason for why restricted eating works. However, the study authors theorized that when a person eats influences their body’ s circadian rhythm. “Mealtimes have more effect on circadian rhythm than dark and light cycles,” the study authors stated. The study authors also believe that timed eating will show similar results in humans.

Why Does Eating Time Matter?

According to the study’s authors, eating time is important because it sets the tone for your body’s internal clock. The study authors believe that eating during a set period is important for establishing circadian rhythms. According to the researchers, your circadian rhythm plays a huge role in your metabolism and thyroid function.

The study authors stated that watching the clock is vitally important. Main study author Dr. Panda told The New York Times that the metabolic clock starts with “that first cup of coffee with cream and sugar in the morning.” For example, if you eat at 7AM, you do not want to eat any food after 7PM.

Researchers theorized that these health benefits occur because our bodies are designed to go through “feast or famine” periods. Mimicking these ancient eating habits can provide benefit to the entire body.

The 5:2 Eating Plan

A few other studies have backed the idea that you don’t have to seat in the 12-hour window on all day. In the 2014 study, mice who at in a 12-hour window for five days could have the weekend off without any ill effects.

A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that women who followed the 5:2 eating plan lost more weight and body fat than women who limited calories every day. The study researchers theorized that regular mini-fasts lead to a diminished appetite and increase insulin resistance.

The researchers believe that mini-fasting is how our bodies were designed, as it is only recently that humans have had access to food throughout a 24-hour period.

Why Fasting Works

A 2013 review of 66 studies on weight loss as related to diabetes and heart disease conducted by researchers from the UK found that regimenting eating periods were a large indicator of a person’s overall health. Access to foods only in a set window of around 12 hours suggested a surprisingly large number of health benefits, listed below.

Benefits of 12-Hour Eating


  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Improved circulating glucose and lipid levels
  • Improved metabolic efficiency
  • Improved thyroid function
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Reduced LDL cholesterol
  • Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Provided heart benefits similar to exercise
  • Improved pancreatic function
  • Provided additional protection against heart disease
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Improved insulin levels
  • Reduced visceral fat


Maximize the Effectiveness of Intermittent Fasting

Although the researchers in the mice study found that even mice who ate a high-sugar, high-fat diet still managed to stay lean while on a restricted eating plan, the truth is that these foods will not provide the nourishment necessary to maintain a healthy body throughout life.

Junk food leads to a wide variety of health problems. Exercise, too, is key to health- not so much for weight loss but to keep your body strong and functioning at optimal levels.

HIIT Workouts for Maximized Health Benefits

According to studies, one of the most effective forms of exercise are high-intensity interval training workouts (HIIT). Two recent studies conducted on HIIT workouts in 2014 found that when it comes to HIIT workouts, less may be more. The studies found that individuals who exercised using the HIIT methods more often than 3 times a week actually showed fewer benefits than a person who didn’t exercise at all.

One study found that the ideal HIIT workout was about 30 to 60 seconds of all-out work, followed by a minute of rest, repeated 4 times- completed no more than three times a week. Basically, this means that HIIT workouts should take no more than 12 minutes out of your week. When done this way, HIIT workouts provided 10 times more aerobic fitness benefits than moderate endurance training.

However, when HIIT workouts were done more, exercisers fatigued quickly and actually lostaerobic fitness ability. So, the moral of the story is, if you want to use HIIT workouts, don’t over do it.

A Healthy Eating Plan

What should you be eating to stabilize your thyroid and maximize weight loss? Numerous studies show that the following eat plan is likely to produce the best results:

Avoid junk food: This is the most important part of any healthy diet. However, junk food including fructose, processed grains, trans fats, and vegetable oils are the biggest offenders.

A variety of protein sources: Protein from cows, lamb, fish, poultry, seafood, eggs, and other places are part of a balanced diet and provide many beneficial nutrients.

All the vegetables you can stand: Vegetables and fruit are extremely healthy and provide nutrients that you can’t get anywhere else.

Healthy fats: Surprisingly enough, fat doesn’t seem to cause much weight gain if the right fats are eaten. Fats from natural sources, like coconut, nuts, and dairy are beneficial. Processed fats, on the other hand, are not. Avoid refined oils, corn and soy oils, canola oil, and any other heavily processed oil or hydrogenated oil. Trans fats, are particularly damaging, yet are still prevalent in many processed foods.

Supplements to Maximize Thyroid Function

Studies show that some supplements can benefit thyroid function. If you are eating a healthy diet, you may not need to supplement. However, if you have a sluggish thyroid, ensuring that you have these nutrients in your system can kick start your thyroid and help you reach your health goals faster. Without the proper nutrients, your thyroid cannot function properly and will either slow drastically (far more common) or speed up. Both a sluggish thyroid and overactive thyroid have damaging effects in the body- both in the short-term and long-term.

According to CNCA Health, the following nutrients are essential for the proper function of the thyroid gland.

Essential Nutrients for Thyroid Health
  •  B vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Omega 3 fats

Intermittent Fasting: Try It Today!

These studies indicate that there is more to a healthy eating plan, thyroid regulation, and weight loss than simply regulating calories. In fact, eating the right foods and restricting your eating times to a 12-hour window may do more to positively impact your health and thyroid than any other single treatment method. If you struggle with a sluggish thyroid, why not try restricting your diet to a 12-hour eating window, removing unhealthy foods, and ensuring you get the essential nutrients for thyroid function? In just a few weeks, you could see drastic improvements in your health from the inside out.





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