Restricted Eating Shows Similar Improvements in Blood Sugar as Reducing Calories for Type 2 Diabetes


Individuals who restrict their eating to between 12 pm and 8 pm daily lost more weight than those who reduced overall calorie intake for type 2 diabetes.

Individuals who restrict their eating between 12 pm and 8 pm daily lost more weight than those who reduced overall calorie intake; however, both diets showed similar improvements in hemoglobulin A1C (HbA1C) levels for those with type 2 diabetes (T2D), according to the results of a study by the American Society for Nutrition.

Image credit: neirfy -

Image credit: neirfy -

“Many [individuals] find counting calories very hard to stick to in the long term, but our study shows that watching the clock may offer a simple way to decrease calories and lose weight,” Vicky Pavlou, RDN, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in a statement. “Although time-restricted eating is becoming increasingly popular, no other studies have looked at an 8-hour eating window in [those with T2D].”

While eating during the 8-high window has been previously studied for obesity, the authors of the current study aimed to determine whether this method was helpful for those with T2D. Investigators included a group of 75 racially and ethnically diverse individuals aged 18 to 80 years with obesity and T2D. Individuals were placed into 1 of 3 groups, including time-restricted eating, calorie restriction, or eating normally for the control group.

The individuals in the time-restricted group could only eat between 12 pm and 8 pm. The calorie restriction group could eat at any time but had to count their calories on the MyFitnessPal app, with a goal of reducing their calorie intake by 25% of their maintenance calories, which what is needed to maintain their current weight.

Over 6 months, the findings showed that the individuals on the time-restricted eating diet lost approximately 3.55% of their body weight when compared to the control group. However, the individuals who restricted their calories did not lose any weight relative to the control group. Additionally, the HbA1C levels decreased in both the time-restricted group and the calorie restriction group when compared to the control group.

The investigators tried to determine whether these diet strategies improved the cardiometabolic risk; however, the weight loss for time-restricted eating did not reach the 5% mark, which is needed for improvement of these various factors. Additionally, the researchers reported individuals who took cholesterol and blood pressure medication, which could have affected the results of cardiometabolic risks.

“Our study shows that time-restricted eating can be a good alternative for those with [T2D] who want to lose weight and improve their blood sugar,” Pavlou said in the statement. “However, there are multiple types of medications for those [with T2D], some of which can cause low blood sugar and some that need to be taken with food. Therefore, it is important to work closely with a dietitian or doctor when implementing this dieting approach.”

The findings were presented at the NUTRITION 2023 meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston, Massachusetts, held from July 22 to July 25. According to the press release, the findings should be considered as preliminary until a peer-review publishes the results.


What is the best dieting strategy for people with type 2 diabetes?. News release. EurekAlert. July 24, 2023. Accessed July 25, 2023.

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