14-hour Fasting Increases Energy and Mood, Lowers Hunger
Limiting food intake to a ten-hour window daily, with a 14-hour fast, was associated with higher energy and mood and decreased hunger, according to new research presented at the European Nutrition Conference in Belgrade, Serbia, on Tuesday.
Restricted eating, also known as intermittent fasting (IF), has become a popular weight loss regime, with some advocates recommending limiting food consumption to as little as six hours a day, the study explained. For this investigation, researchers from King’s College London in England sought to determine the benefits of a less restrictive eating window of ten hours.
The study included 37,545 who completed the core intervention period of three weeks using a health app on their phone. The app directed participants to eat normally for the first week and then eat within a ten-hour window for two weeks.
More than 36,231 participants opted to follow the intervention for additional weeks. In addition, the study classified 27,371 users as “highly engaged," 78 percent of whom were female with a mean age of 60 and a body mass index (BMI) of 25.6.
Researchers found that those who were consistent with their eating window had greater benefits than those whose eating schedules varied day to day. The results indicated that participants following a less restrictive eating window of ten hours still had the benefits of improved mood, energy, and hunger seen in more restrictive fasting regimes.
“What's exciting is that the findings show that you don’t have to be very restrictive to see positive results,” said Sarah Berry, PhD, Associate Professor at King’s College London. “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."
The results also indicated that those with longer eating windows prior to the study showed even greater benefits than those who already ate within shorter windows of time.
"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 the eating window is an important dietary behavior that can be beneficial for health,” said Kate Bermingham, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher at King’s College London. “Findings show 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.”