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What’s the ideal fasting period?

You know the benefits of intermittent fasting, but is there an optimum fast time? Some say 10 hours, others say 12 hours, but according to the latest research the most effective fast time is 14 hours in between meals.

When fasting for 14 hours you should eat within a 10-hour period, so this could mean starting for day with an 8am breakfast and then having your last meal before 6pm.

A study published in Cell Metabolism showed evidence that this time period showed optimum results.

Researchers tracked a group of overweight individuals who would typically have their first meal at 8pm and their last meal before 6pm.

During the fasting period, they were encouraged to stay hydrated with water and after three months the researchers saw a 3% reduction in weight and 4% reduction in abdominal fat.

Despite not requesting the participants to change their diet, they consumed on average 8.6% less calories. “We didn’t ask them to change what they eat,” said Dr Pam Taub who led the study.

“In addition to the weight loss, we saw that cholesterol levels improved and blood pressure [levels] also improved,” Taub explained.

Not only did the participants see an increase in energy but they reported better sleep patterns as well.

“We are surprised that this small change in eating time would give them such a huge benefit,” added Satchidananda Panda a co-author of the study.

“When you go into a fasting state, you start to deplete the glucose stores in your body and you start to use fat as your energy source,” Taub explains. “You can enter a low-grade state of ketosis.”

According to Panda, once fat is fuelling your body that can lead to a good amount of weight loss.

Taub explained that the extra hours of fasting helps give your metabolic organs a rest.

“When you’re constantly giving the body calories, you’re constantly making your cells work,” Taub added.

Eating at the right time is crucial to help reset our organs such as the liver, stomach and brain.

Daylight is the main cue to resetting our organs but it can also be when we eat our first bite of food.

“When the clocks in our body are out of sync our bodies don’t work as efficiently, and this may lead us to store more fat,” explains Panda.

“And over a long period of time, that can lead to Type 2 diabetes, obesity and increased risk for heart diseases,” Panda adds.


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