Type 2 diabetes can potentially be prevented by targeted lifestyle and weight loss interventions. Time restricted eating (TRE) is a form of intermittent fasting that has emerged as a novel diet strategy to reduce body weight and improve glycaemic control. TRE involves eating within a certain window of time (usually 4 to 10 h), and water-fasting for the remaining hours of the day. The purpose of this review is to summarize the effects of TRE on body weight and markers of glycaemic control in human subjects. We also aim to provide mechanistic insights into the effect of TRE on insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Results to date reveal that TRE produces mild weight loss (1%-4% from baseline) and energy restriction, when food consumption is restricted to 4-10 h/day. TRE also reduces fasting insulin and improves insulin sensitivity in individuals with prediabetes and those with obesity. Moreover, TRE improves glucose tolerance and decreases serum glucose excursions. The possible mechanisms underlying these benefits include increased autophagic flux, mild elevations in ketone bodies, a reduction in oxidative stress, and the stimulation of β-cell responsiveness. While these preliminary results offer promise for the use of TRE in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, larger and longer-term human trials will be needed to confirm these findings.
Keywords: autophagy; glycaemic control; intermittent fasting; metabolic switch; obesity; time restricted eating; type 2 diabetes.
© 2021 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2021 The Physiological Society.