eating within set times good for shift workers
Global – “Many of us eat all the time, right up until we go to bed – but the body doesn’t need it,” says Prof Pam Taub, study co-author and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of medicine. Researchers say eating at set hours of the day can be a good way for shift workers to feel better and stay healthier.
Their work patterns are known to disrupt the body’s rhythms, increasing the risk of disease. In a study, firefighters working 24-hour shifts lowered their “bad” cholesterol levels and blood pressure by eating within a 10-hour window. And those who already had health problems benefited the most.
The researchers say that parents who are forced to sleep at night caring for a newborn and healthcare professionals can also benefit from time-restricted meals.
Researchers in the journal Cell Metabolism asked 150 firefighters from the San Diego Fire and Rescue Department to track everything they ate on an app for three months. Half ate all of their calories during the 10-hour window from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm without skipping meals, while the other half did not change their regular routine and ate on average during the 14-hour window.
Both groups were asked to follow a Mediterranean diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and olive oil, which is known to be good for health.
The study included firefighters with overweight or health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes.
The study found that the health of those who followed the time-restricted diet improved more than the health of those in the comparison group.
Tests showed that their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels improved by eating for a set period of time and then fasting for the rest of their shift.
Even healthy firefighters without any major health risks have experienced improved quality of life and reduced levels of “bad” cholesterol from this diet. And the study found no decrease in energy levels or other negative side effects.