A Smartphone App Reveals Erratic Diurnal Eating Patterns in Humans That Can Be Modulated for Health Benefits

Cell Metab. 2015 Nov 3;22(5):789-98. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.09.005. Epub 2015 Sep 24.

Abstract

A diurnal rhythm of eating-fasting promotes health, but the eating pattern of humans is rarely assessed. Using a mobile app, we monitored ingestion events in healthy adults with no shift-work for several days. Most subjects ate frequently and erratically throughout wakeful hours, and overnight fasting duration paralleled time in bed. There was a bias toward eating late, with an estimated <25% of calories being consumed before noon and >35% after 6 p.m. "Metabolic jetlag" resulting from weekday/weekend variation in eating pattern akin to travel across time zones was prevalent. The daily intake duration (95% interval) exceeded 14.75 hr for half of the cohort. When overweight individuals with >14 hr eating duration ate for only 10-11 hr daily for 16 weeks assisted by a data visualization (raster plot of dietary intake pattern, "feedogram") that we developed, they reduced body weight, reported being energetic, and improved sleep. Benefits persisted for a year.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Smartphone*