A scoping review of intermittent fasting, chronobiology, and metabolism

Heitor O. Santos, Rafael Genario, Grant M. Tinsley, Poliana Ribeiro, Randhall B. Carteri, Christianne De Faria Coelho-Ravagnani, João F. Mota

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Chronobiology plays a crucial role in modulating many physiologic systems in which there is nutritional synergism with meal timing. Given that intermittent fasting (IF) has grown as a flexible dietary method consisting of delayed or early eating windows, this scoping review addresses the effects of IF protocols on metabolism as they relate to clinical nutrition and the circadian system. Although nocturnal habits are associated with circadian misalignments and impaired cardiometabolic profile - and nutritional physiology is better orchestrated during the day - most findings are based on animal experiments or human studies with observational designs or acute meal tests. Well-controlled randomized clinical trials employing IF protocols of delayed or early eating windows have sometimes demonstrated clinical benefits, such as improved glycemic and lipid profiles, as well as weight loss. However, IF does not appear to be more effective than traditional diets at the group level, and its effects largely depend on energy restriction. Thus, efforts must be made to identify patient biological rhythms, preferences, routines, and medical conditions before individual dietary prescription in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-1004
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • alternate-day fasting
  • cardiovascular disease
  • chrononutrition
  • diabetes
  • intermittent fasting
  • obesity
  • time-restricted eating
  • time-restricted feeding
  • weight loss


Dive into the research topics of 'A scoping review of intermittent fasting, chronobiology, and metabolism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this