salad on a plate confined to one section of the plate

Is Intermittent Fasting Sustainable?  

Though it is practiced by celebrities and people you know, intermittent fasting is still in its infancy. A new clinical trial led by endocrinologist Blandine Laferrère, MD, PhD, could help the trendy dietary strategy evolve, ultimately leading to better heart health.  

“There is an urgency to find effective, easy, sustainable, affordable lifestyle interventions,” says Laferrère, professor of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. More than half of American adults are at high risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases because of weight. Most weight loss interventions are unsustainable.   

Time-restricted eating, a type of intermittent fasting, is a regimen of eating and not-eating on a defined schedule. Other diets limit what or how much you eat. Time-restricted eating limits when you eat and the number of eating hours. Easier than counting calories, shortening daily eating duration (e.g., 10 hours per day instead of 14) may optimize health.   

In a preliminary study, Laferrère and team learned that aligning eating time with the body's internal clock improves metabolism. Participants in the study used a smartphone application to upload photos and data documenting food and sleep.  The study, which also demonstrated the feasibility of self-monitoring via smartphone, lasted for three months. People who restricted daily eating time lost weight and had decreases in blood pressure.  

Now the researchers want to determine the effect of time-restricted eating on body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and other health metrics and also determine if the health benefits of time-restricted eating are sustainable.  The New York TREAT (Time Restricted EATing) study is seeking volunteers age 50 to 75, with prediabetes or early-onset type 2 diabetes, who can monitor their food intake with a smartphone.    


More information

To learn more and find out if you qualify,  contact the study team by phone at 212-851-5581/5576 or email at  

This study has been approved by the Columbia University Institutional Review Board (IRB# AAAS7791) and is listed in (Registration number: NCT04465721).