Time-Restricted Feeding and Metabolic Outcomes in a Cohort of Italian Adults

Nutrients. 2021 May 13;13(5):1651. doi: 10.3390/nu13051651.


Background: research exploring the effects of food timing and frequency on health and disease is currently ongoing. While there is an increasing body of scientific literature showing the potential health benefits of intermittent fasting (IF) in laboratory settings and in animals, studies regarding IF on humans are limited. Therefore, the objective of this research was to evaluate the relationship between the feeding/fasting time window and metabolic outcomes among adult individuals.

Methods: dietary and demographic data of 1936 adult subjects living in the south of Italy were examined. Food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) were administered to determine the period of time between the first and the last meal of a typical day. Subjects were then divided into those with a time feeding window lasting more than 10 h, within 8 h (TRF-8) and within 10 h.

Results: after adjustment for potential confounding factors related to eating habits (such as adherence to the Mediterranean diet, having breakfast/dinner), TRF-10 was inversely associated with being overweight/obese (OR = 0.05, 95% CI: 0.01, 0.07), hypertension (OR = 0.24, 95% CI: 0.13, 0.45), and dyslipidemias (OR = 0.26, 95% CI: 0.10, 0.63), while TRF-8 only with being overweight/obese (OR = 0.08, 95% CI: 0.04, 0.15) and hypertension (OR = 0.33, 95% CI: 0.17, 0.60). No associations were found with type-2 diabetes.

Conclusions: individuals with a restricted feeding time window were less likely to be overweight, obese and hypertensive. Further studies are needed to clearly validate the results of the present study.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; breakfast; cohort; dyslipidemia; fasting; hypertension; intermittent fasting; metabolic; obesity; time-restricted feeding.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology
  • Fasting / metabolism*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Time Factors