Eating within a ten-hour time frame is feasible for most people and they feel less hungry, more energetic and have a better mood, a study suggests.
Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term for dietary restriction plans that follow different meal timing schedules for a period of time.
In recent years, restricted eating set within a specific time window has become a popular weight loss plan.
Researchers from King’s College London, evaluated the health benefits gained from intermittent fasting.
They noticed that most people can adhere to eating meals within a ten-hour window of the day and fasting for the remaining 14 hours.
In that case, if your first meal is at 9 am, your last meal must be by 7 pm, then you avoid eating until the next morning at 9 am.
While some recommend a six-hour eating window for an intermittent fasting regime, this study shows that restrictive eating within a ten-hour time frame offers several health benefits such as reduced hunger, increased energy, and positive mood.
Furthermore, they found that participants who stuck to their eating window consistently benefited more than others who changed their daily eating schedule.
Dr. Sarah Berry, the study’s senior author, said:
“This is the largest study outside of a tightly controlled clinic to show that intermittent fasting can improve your health in a real world setting.
What’s really exciting is that the findings show that you don’t have to be very restrictive to see positive results: a ten-hour eating window, which was manageable for most people, and improved mood, energy levels and hunger.
We found for the first time that those who practiced time-restricted eating, but were not consistent day to day, did not have the same positive health effects as those who were dedicated every day.”
For this study, about 38,000 participates were assigned to use the ‘ZOE Health’ app for a period of three weeks.
For the first week, subjects followed their usual diet and then for two weeks they had to eat within a ten-hour window.
The health benefits were also greater for those who had adapted to a longer eating window prior to the study.
Dr Kate Bermingham, study co-author, said:
“This study adds to the growing body of evidence showing the importance of how you eat.
The health impact of food is not just what you eat but the time at which you choose to consume your meals, and eating window is an important dietary behaviour that can be beneficial for health.
Findings shows that we don’t need to be eating all the time.
Many people will feel satiated and even lose weight if they restrict their food to a ten-hour window.”
- Portion control is a better strategy for weight management than intermittent fasting.
- Continuous dieting and intermittent fasting can lead to the same amount of weight loss.
- A 14-day break from dieting helps increase weight loss by 50 percent.
- Pesco-Mediterranean combined with time-restricted eating is ideal for improving heart health.
The study was presented by King’s College London researchers at the European Nutrition Conference in Belgrade, Serbia (Berry et al., 2023).