Time-restricted eating (TRE) can facilitate weight loss, yet its effect on eating patterns remains unknown. Twenty adults with BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 underwent a 12-week randomized trial, examining the effect of an 8-h, time-restricted eating intervention on dietary patterns. Oral intake was documented using a smartphone. Dietary patterns, assessed as frequency of eating occasions (EOs) and types of meals/snacks and beverages, were compared between baseline (T0), early-intervention (T1), and end-intervention (T2). At T1 and T2, both groups had less EOs compared to T0, with greater reduction seen in the TRE group (-28%) than the non-TRE group (-12%) at T2 (p = 0.01 vs. non-TRE). Comparing T1 to T0, the TRE group documented less incomplete meals (-32.5%: p = 0.02), high quality snacks (-23.6%: p = 0.03), and low quality snacks (-36.6%: p = 0.004). Comparing T2 to T0, the TRE group documented less incomplete meals (-33.9%: p = 0.03), high quality snacks (-28.1%: p < 0.001) and low quality snacks (-51.2%: p < 0.001). Caffeinated beverage intake was reduced in the TRE group at T1 (-20.2%) and T2 (-28.8%) vs. T0, but remained unaltered in the non-TRE group. By using a smartphone application to document dietary intake, TRE significantly reduced the number of EOs, snacks, and caffeinated beverages, relative to baseline and relative to the non-TRE.
Keywords: dietary patterns; eating occasions; time-restricted eating.