Results from a significant UK community science study indicate that confining eating to a ten-hour window is linked to increased energy, better mood, and reduced hunger levels, according to researchers from King’s College London presenting their findings at the European Nutrition Conference.
Intermittent fasting (IF), where individuals limit their eating to specific time frames, has gained popularity as a weight loss strategy. A ten-hour eating window involves restricting daily food intake to ten hours and fasting for the remaining 14 hours. For instance, if someone starts eating at 9 am, they should finish their last meal by 7 pm.
While some proponents of IF advocate for extremely narrow eating windows as short as six hours, the study’s abstract suggests that even adhering to a less stringent ten-hour window yields positive health outcomes, including mood, energy, and hunger improvements.
What the doctor says
Consistency in maintaining the eating window appeared crucial; individuals who adhered to a consistent schedule experienced greater benefits compared to those with variable eating windows day by day.
Dr. Sarah Berry, a chief scientist at ZOE and King’s College London, highlighted the study’s significance: “This extensive real-world study demonstrates that intermittent fasting can positively impact health outside of controlled clinical environments. What’s particularly promising is that positive effects were observed without the need for extreme restriction. A ten-hour eating window, manageable for most, enhanced mood, energy levels, and curbed hunger. Interestingly, our findings reveal that inconsistent time-restricted eating didn’t yield the same health improvements as daily consistency.”
The study involved 37,545 individuals using the ZOE Health app who completed a core three-week intervention. Participants maintained their regular eating habits for the first week, followed by a ten-hour eating window for the subsequent two weeks.
Out of these participants, over 36,231 continued for additional weeks, with 27,371 considered highly engaged. Those highly engaged were predominantly female (78%), with an average age of 60 and a BMI of 25.6.
Remarkably, participants who initially had longer eating windows witnessed even greater health benefits after adopting the ten-hour eating window.
This research further reinforces the growing evidence emphasizing not just what we eat but when we eat. The timing of meals, encapsulated in the eating window, emerges as a crucial dietary behavior impacting health positively. It suggests that constant eating isn’t necessary; many may feel satisfied and even lose weight by confining their meals to a ten-hour window.