A growing body of evidence indicates that time restricted feeding (TRF), a popular form of intermittent fasting, can activate similar biological pathways as caloric restriction, the only intervention consistently found to extend healthy lifespan in a variety of species. Thus, TRF may have the potential to also improve function in older adults. Given the challenges many individuals have in following calorie restriction regimens over long-time periods, evaluation of alternative approaches that may produce weight loss and improve function in overweight, older adults is important. Ten overweight, sedentary older adults (≥65 years) at risk for, or with mobility impairments, defined by slow gait speed (<1.0 m/s) participated in this trial. All participants received the intervention and were instructed to fast for approximately 16 h per day over the entire four-week intervention. Outcomes included changes in body weight, waist circumference, cognitive and physical function, health-related quality of life, and adverse events. Adherence levels were high (mean = 84%) based on days goal was met, and mean weight loss was 2.6 kg (p < 0.01). Since body composition was not measured in this study, it is unclear if the observed weight loss was due to loss of fat mass, muscle mass, or the combination of fat and muscle mass. There were no significant changes in other outcomes; however, there were clinically meaningful changes in walking speed and improvements in quality of life, with few reported adverse events. The findings of this pilot study suggest that time restricted feeding is an acceptable and feasible eating pattern for overweight, sedentary older adults to follow.
Keywords: body composition; fat loss; intermittent fasting; sarcopenia; weight loss.