Fasting and cutting out food for 14 hours could bring a huge range of benefits

Ever since I saw the research showing that going without food for 13 or 14 hours could cure type 2 diabetes I’ve been following the recommendation to increase the time between meals and shorten the window within which I eat each day.

If this eating pattern can cure type 2 diabetes it’s good enough for me. Now King’s College, London researchers have shown that if you eat within a 10-hour window you’ll have higher energy, a better mood and lower hunger levels. Results from the largest UK community science study show that limiting your daily eating schedule to 10 hours and fasting for the remaining 14 has positive health benefits. This pattern of eating means if you eat your first bite at 9am, you must eat your last bite by 7pm.

Another tip is to be consistent with your eating window which brings greater benefits than people who vary their eating window day to day. In total, 37,545 people on the ZOE Health app completed the core intervention period of three weeks. Participants were asked to eat as normal for the first week and then do a 10-hour eating window for two weeks.

Dr Sarah Berry, chief scientist at ZOE, says, “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 10-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 practised 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.” More than 36,231 participants opted for additional weeks and 27,371 users were classified as highly engaged.

Kate Bermingham PhD, from King’s and ZOE, enthuses: “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. An 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 10-hour window.”