Early time-restricted feeding improves 24-hour glucose levels and affects markers of the circadian clock, aging, and autophagy in humans

Humaira Jamshed, Robbie A. Beyl, Deborah L.Della Manna, Eddy S. Yang, Eric Ravussin, Courtney M. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

275 Scopus citations


Time-restricted feeding (TRF) is a form of intermittent fasting that involves having a longer daily fasting period. Preliminary studies report that TRF improves cardiometabolic health in rodents and humans. Here, we performed the first study to determine how TRF affects gene expression, circulating hormones, and diurnal patterns in cardiometabolic risk factors in humans. Eleven overweight adults participated in a 4-day randomized crossover study where they ate between 8 am and 2 pm (early TRF (eTRF)) and between 8 am and 8 pm (control schedule). Participants underwent continuous glucose monitoring, and blood was drawn to assess cardiometabolic risk factors, hormones, and gene expression in whole blood cells. Relative to the control schedule, eTRF decreased mean 24-hour glucose levels by 4 ± 1 mg/dl (p = 0.0003) and glycemic excursions by ± 3 mg/dl (p = 0.001). In the morning before breakfast, eTRF increased ketones, cholesterol, and the expression of the stress response and aging gene SIRT1 and the autophagy gene LC3A (all p < 0.04), while in the evening, it tended to increase brain-derived neurotropic factor (BNDF; p = 0.10) and also increased the expression of MTOR (p = 0.007), a major nutrient-sensing protein that regulates cell growth. eTRF also altered the diurnal patterns in cortisol and the expression of several circadian clock genes (p < 0.05). eTRF improves 24-hour glucose levels, alters lipid metabolism and circadian clock gene expression, and may also increase autophagy and have anti-aging effects in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1234
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by an Early Career Research Grant from The Obesity Society (C.M.P.); career development grants (to C.M.P.) under center grants KL2 TR001419 from the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and U54 GM104940 from NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which supports the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (LA CaTS); and a NORC Center Grant P30 DK072476 entitled “Nutritional Programming: Environmental and Molecular Interactions” (E.R.). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
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  • Circadian rhythms
  • Circadian system
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Meal timing
  • Time-restricted feeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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