What Is A Time-restricted Meal?

Anjali Singh

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What Is A Time-restricted Meal?

In modern times, the lifestyle of people has changed a lot. They have to work overnight and long hours, especially at night, contrary to a natural way of living. The concept of time-restricted meals is a matter of discussion nowadays because our natural way of living, eating, and sleeping is disturbed. Many people eat continuously from the moment they wake up before they go to bed. Switching to a time-restricted eating style will lead one to eat less naturally, lowering daily calorie intake.

Time and tide wait for none. Everything seems perfectly timed in nature. The sun rises and sets at the correct time, day and night continue alternately, weather and season come one after the other. Birds like crow and cock are an indicator of dawn. In the evening after the sunset, all the birds start coming back to their resting home. In the old days, men and women would rise early and finish all the activities till evening before going to bed with a calm and happy mindset. Their eating pattern was natural; they avoided late-night parties or dinner, the same way their breakfast and lunch timing was preset.

People followed a set and natural schedule of meal which was in tune with nature. They were not with an empty stomach for a long or did overeating without any hard work. In this process, people were healthy and happy.

What Is A Time-restricted Meal?

What Is A Time-restricted Meal?
Source: Medical News Today

Time-restricted meal (TRM) is growing in popularity in today’s scenario. As the name itself suggests that TRM is a type of diet that focuses on the timing of eating. It is a form of fasting daily. An individual’s feeding period is restricted or compressed throughout the day (i.e., restriction in the time an individual can spend on eating). Hence, an individual on TRM will only eat during specific hours of the day. Outside of this period, he will have to fast.

TRM consists of –

  • Eating window 
  • Fasting window
Eating Window

A time-restricted meal means that an individual eats all of his meals and snacks inside a particular window of time each day. This time plan can vary depending upon the individual’s preferences, and the schedule one wishes to follow. However, in time-restricted systems, the eating window often ranges from 6–12 hours every day. Out of this period, the individual eats no calories. 

However, to remain hydrated, one can drink

  • water
  • calorie-free beverages like unsweetened black tea or coffee without cream/milk
  • green tea

Time-restricted Meal And Intermittent Fasting Difference

Time-restricted Meal And Intermittent Fasting Difference

TRM is often confused with intermittent fasting. However, TRM is a type of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is a form of diet that alternates between periods of calorie restriction and periods of regular feeding.

  • Intermittent fasting involves caloric restriction.
  • TRM permits an individual to eat as much as he wants during the eating window without limiting the food types or calories that the individual wants to consume.

Health Benefits Of A Time-restricted Meal

Health Benefits Of A Time-restricted Meal
Weight loss
Improves lipid parameters
Improves heart health
Reduces inflammation
Improves blood sugar level
Improves gut microbiome
Improves insulin sensitivity
Normalizes blood pressure
Improves metabolism
Improves eating pattern
Improves immune system
Provides rest to digestive organs
Improves fatty liver

Advantages Of A Time-restricted Meal

Advantages Of A Time-restricted Meal
Source: Elemental – Medium
  • Simple to follow
  • Easy to adapt
  • No specialized food or equipment requirement
  • No money expenditure
  • Improves daily routine life
  • A step towards the natural and traditional way of living
  • Can combine with any diet, such as a high-protein diet or a low-carb diet

Steps To Plan

Source: Blog – myCircadianClock
  1. Consult a doctor and dietician before following TRM.
  2. Select a set number of hours/day during which you can consume all of your calories. An example of TRM is selecting to consume food in an 8-hour time frame for the day, for instance, from 12 noon to 8 p.m. In this case, the fasting cycle would last for the remaining 16 hours a day, within which no calories would be consumed. 
  3. Every day, follow the same routine.


  • A time-restricted meal is a dietary pattern that focuses on when to eat instead of what to eat. 
  • Limiting daily food consumption to a shorter time frame may make it possible to eat less food, lose weight, improve heart health, control blood sugar level, and numerous other health benefits.
  • Hence, it should be our endeavor to focus and adhere to meal timings because the quality of food matters for good health, but we cannot deny the importance of meal timings.
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