Identification of factors influencing motivation to undertake time-restricted feeding in humans

Appetite. 2021 Apr 1;105240. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105240. Online ahead of print.


The interaction between time of day and energy intake, termed chrono-nutrition, has received considerable recent interest. One aspect of chrono-nutrition with potential to benefit long-term cardio-metabolic health is time-restricted feeding (TRF). Current support for TRF primarily derives from animal research, although recent small-scale human studies indicate possible translational benefit. Whether free-living humans, however, can incorporate TRF into their daily lives is poorly understood. This study reports data from participants (n = 608) who completed an online questionnaire to investigate daily routine, likelihood of TRF incorporation within work vs free-days, and key considerations influencing TRF uptake. The majority of participants reported a typical daily feeding window (time between first and last energy intake) of between 10 - 14 hours on workdays and free days, 62.7 and 65.5% respectively. Likelihood of adherence to TRF declined with an increase in the proposed restriction of the feeding window by 0.5 to 4-hours per day. We then examined data from participants with a typical daily feeding window of 12+ hours on workdays (n = 221) and free-days (n = 223) to investigate the likelihood of using TRF, and the most important considerations in making this decision. Of these participants, (n = 132) on workdays and (n = 125) on free days would likely reduce their feeding window by 3-hours. Multiple regression analysis revealed that key considerations determining the likelihood of adopting TRF were: cost, time availability, and perceived health benefits (on workdays); wake time, bed time, time availability, motivation to change and perceived health benefits (on free-days). These data provide novel information regarding public attitudes towards TRF and highlight important aspects to be considered when translating controlled laboratory studies to public dietary advice.

Keywords: behaviour; chronobiology; circadian; diet; fasting; metabolism.