Intermittent fasting window only needs to be 14 hours for better health - study

Intermittent fasting has gained popularity in recent years as a health measure and weight loss tool. Just a quick Google reveals many testimonials of the benefits, and some claim it's the only weight loss method they've tried that's worked for them. 

It has also been shown to improve bloating and IBS symptoms, as the body has more time to digest. 

If you've been interested in dabbling in fasting, but been put off at the thought of not eating your beloved breakfast, we've got great news: new research shows that a mere 14-hour fasting window is all that's needed to improve health. 

Previous reports stated that a 16-hour fasting window was ideal, leaving just eight hours during the day where you should be eating. This means that a person intermittent fasting may begin their day of eating at 11am, and be done eating by 7pm. 

But a new study out of the US reveals that people can improve their health by eating all of their meals over a span of just 10 hours and fasting for the remaining 14. 

"There has been a lot of discussion about intermittent fasting and what time window people should eat within to get the benefits of this kind of diet," says co-author Satchidananda Panda, a Professor at the Salk Institute. "Based on what we've observed in mice, a 10-hour time window seems to convey these benefits. At the same time, it's not so restrictive that people can't follow it long-term."

Kiwi clinical nutritionist Cliff Harvey joined the AM show on Friday to discuss the study, saying it's "another piece of evidence that fasting works". 

"What's interesting about this study is it's about moderate restriction - it sounds like a lot of time not to eat, but for a lot of people it's just about switching their feeding versus fasting window," he explained. "It's about starting eating at eight, and finishing at six - it's not that big a restriction." 

Harvey says most of us naturally fast from dinner to breakfast anyway, so a small increase in that fasting window is leading to "prodigious benefits". 

"Just by restricting how long we have to eat it seems we don't overcompensate - so if you fast for a little bit longer you actually don't make up for it by binging, even if you think that you are." 

"This is why it's a good strategy for people - it basically helps you autoregulate. You don't mean to eat less, but because you've got a shorter eating window you end up doing it." 

So if you're thinking about giving intermittent fasting a go, ease into it with a 10-hour eating window. It means you can have breakfast at 9am and finish dinner before 7pm, which actually isn't too hard - you just have to give up the midnight snacks. 

Watch the full AM Show interview with Harvey above.