The benefits of 14 10 intermittent fasting are impressive for overall health, even for your waistline. Fasting can benefit everything from your weight to reducing inflammation and reducing cancer risk.
While there are many styles of fasting, much research suggests that a 14-hour fast followed by a 10-hour eating window is effective and a good place to start for beginners.
Fasting actually isn’t a new concept at all, but it deviates from the common dogmatic way of “eating until full” every day, or eating whenever hungry. This is the common mode of eating today in Western culture.
Historically, fasting has been done for religious reasons and personal health reasons since the dawn of time. Fasting also has been in place by most humans in history inadvertently due to a lack of food supplies. The exceptions would be kings and royalty who always had food at the ready.
In this post, learn what a 14 10 fast is, how to do a 14 10 intermittent fast, and the benefits of fasting.
14 10 Intermittent Fasting Defined
Also known as time-restricted fasting, intermittent fasting methods are the most popular form of fasting because they are the easiest to follow. Technically speaking, all types of fasting are intermittent.
How does one intermittently fast? All you need to do is simply limit the number of hours of eating during the day. I do this a few days a week or more without much difficulty at all.
We all fast, whether we want to see it that way or not. Our body goes through a period of rest, or sleep, where we don’t eat. Often we inadvertently do it for an extended period when we are sick or happen to be low on money to buy food.
Certain fasts, as described below, extend that period of fasting in a variety of ways.
The 14 10 intermittent fasting method: Simply put, 14 10 intermittent fasting is fasting for 14 hours a day followed by a 10-hour eating window.
The 16 8 intermittent fasting method: is also a popular fasting method, with 16 hours a day of fasting and 8 hours of eating span allowed. No other requirements.
The 18 6 intermittent fasting method: is a bit more challenging, where eating is restricted to 6 hours during the day. This method may have more weight loss benefits than the other methods, but it can create a bit more stress on the system if done frequently.
How to 14 10 Intermittent Fast Successfully
If you are a person that is used to grazing and snacking all day, it can take some time to get used to fasting. The first step in breaking the snacking habit is to eat a nutritious and satisfying dinner. This will help prevent snacking later in the evening. As your body gets used to having fewer snacks, it becomes effortless to have a 14-10 fast regularly.
For a 14-hour fast diet, you should stay well hydrated during your fast. Make sure to have plenty of healthy beverages on hand that you enjoy that are calorie-free during your fast. By the way, if you have less than 50 calories during the fasting window, this is still technically considered fasting.
14 10 Intermittent Fasting Tips
Having a pinch of Himalayan salt helps replace electrolytes so you can add this to your water or put a pinch of salt under your tongue during the fasting period. This practice can remarkably also help take away hunger pangs or any feelings of nausea or discomfort for many people.
A common window of eating for a 14 10 fast is to eat dinner at 6 pm and then have breakfast the following morning at 8 am. But, there is no right or wrong way to fast as long as you have a 14-hour window of not eating.
The Importance of Being Flexible
As life would have it, my evenings are sometimes busy so I may eat dinner at 8 pm and then delay my breakfast until 10 or just eat my lunch at noon, which extends this into a 16:8 fast.
The best part about intermittent fasting is that food is not restricted during the eating period. But you should make sure to aim to eat a lot of healthy foods and prioritize protein so that you stay full.
Women may want to avoid fasting while having their menstrual cycles.
PMS hormones may amplify feelings of hunger and cause mood changes when fasting.
I recommend that women, when trying intermittent fasting, stick to trying the fast first in the early part of their menstrual cycle, and try it if and only if their baseline diet is high-quality.
Related post: 13 Interesting Benefits of Fasting for Gut Repair
Suggested Meal Plans for 14 10 Fasting
As mentioned above, there are no right and wrong ways to meal plan during a fast, but it helps to have balanced meals. Here are a few examples of an intermittent fasting plan that can help you make the best of a fast. Keep in mind that it can and should be flexible to help meet your lifestyle.
Fasting works more easily for a person who has a well-balanced diet. It is much easier to implement a fast for people who eat pretty well first, so cleaning up your diet first is a good place to start.
Here are some example meal plans for an alternate-day fasting schedule example that follows the 14-10 rule.
You ate dinner at 6 pm the night before so your eating window starts at 8 am.
- 6 am: Coffee or tea
- 7 am: Water with a pinch of salt or electrolyte replacement powder
- 8 am: 2 eggs with ½ avocado with herbal tea
- 12 pm: Beef and vegetable stew leftovers and fresh fruit and water
- 6 pm: Salmon with rice and vegetables, herbal tea
- 8 pm: Herbal tea
You had a snack at 10 pm the night before so the eating window starts at 12 pm.
- 6 am: Coffee or tea
- 7 am: Water with a pinch of salt or electrolyte replacement powder
- 12 pm: Honey mustard chicken with vegetable and potatoes leftovers
- 2 pm: Herbal tea or water
- 4 pm: Cheese and nuts
- 8 pm: Pork Chile Verde stew with fresh fruit and herbal tea
Your last food was at 9 pm so your eating window starts at 11 am.
- 8 am: Coffee or tea
- 10 am: Water with a pinch of salt or electrolyte replacement powder
- 11 am: Plain whole milk yogurt with honey and fruit, fresh green salad with sardines
- 2 pm: Walnuts and cashews
- 7 pm: Mediterranean chicken and olives with quinoa and veggie salad
- 9 pm: Cheese and gluten-free crackers
Health Benefits of 14 10 Intermittent Fasting
Regardless of the type of time-restricted eating, they all affect similar pathways in the body with the end result of less inflammation. By reducing inflammation, fasting potentially reduces the chances of many diseases.
Fasting may help with many conditions, especially the following:
Rheumatoid arthritis-Ramadan fasting reduces inflammatory markers in people with this condition.
High blood pressure-is reduced by fasting, especially with longer fasts. Fasting may help lower blood pressure by promoting better sleep, reducing fasting insulin levels, and an increased ability to relax. The body increases its loss of sodium during a fast as well.
Metabolic syndrome-fasting reduces body fat levels, reduces fasting insulin, and increases insulin resistance. Therefore, fasting is an important tool for helping prevent type 2 diabetes.
May help prevent diabetes-fasting may help promote the health of the pancreas and therefore help reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes.
May extend lifespan and healthspan-results from fasting trials indicate that by reducing inflammation, and body weight, and improving sleep cycles, fasting may improve lifespan.
Is 14 10 Intermittent Fasting Effective for Weight Loss?
Yes. 14 10 restricted eating reduces body weight according to some research. Another study found that 14 10 intermittent fasting results in greater weight loss than 12 12 fasting in combination with a weight loss program for people who are obese.
Of 27 clinical trials in humans, all found that all types of fasting help promote weight loss. The reason that fasting improves weight loss is that restricted feeding improves insulin sensitivity and promotes fat burning during the fasting state.
As logic would have it, the amount of weight that you lose is going to depend on how much exercise you do and what foods you eat when you fast as well.
Does Timing of 14 10 Intermittent Fasting Matter?
Fasting later in the day may prove more effective than skipping breakfast.
For example, one research study found that people who ate less than 30% of their calories in the evening had reduced inflammation markers and reduced 24-hour blood glucose markers compared to those who ate more calories in the evening.
Nighttime eating has been linked to an increased risk of cancer as well. Eating late at night also increases the risk of obesity by changing how we store fat. By eating late, you are more likely to suffer from heartburn as well, which can interrupt healthy sleep.
Other Types of Fasting
Many types of fasting exist; in fact, there are infinite ways to “fast.” Here are some of the most common.
Water fasting is exactly what it sounds like: taking in water only for a determined period of time. Some people do it for days in a row. This is a type of fast to ONLY do under complete medical supervision, and as you might imagine, can be very unpleasant.
Side effects are sometimes large, ranging from fatigue to pain and digestive discomfort.
However, water fasting doesn’t seem to have as severe of side effects as some might imagine, at least in research. A large body of data collected only saw 1 hospitalization and no deaths.
Research isn’t without its flaws, however, so I don’t recommend this form of fasting, mostly because it can be quite unpleasant.
A fast-mimicking diet is a vegan-style fast with 10% of calories as protein. It also is lowish calories for 3-5 days, between 800-1000 calories per day. Following the 3-5 days, people resume their normal eating schedule.
The reduction in protein for a short period of time is done because it can help shut down growth factors that drive inflammation.
In a fascinating study of 100 generally healthy people, simply following a fast-mimicking diet for 5 days out of the month reduced blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, body fat, body weight, and fasting glucose compared to “regular” eating.
Fast-mimicking diets also may help repair and replace damaged cells in the setting of autoimmune diseases, according to early data.
In my experience, a fast-mimicking diet is much more difficult to follow than a 14 10 intermittent fast, however.
Every religion has fasting in some way, shape, or form. Food deprivation for short periods of times is thought to bring about a closeness to a higher power and enhance the spiritual experience.
It is a form of sacrifice as well and a way of honoring a higher power.
My Personal Fasting Experience
It is important for healthcare providers to be open-minded and as such, open-minded to trying fasting. What better way to learn about it than to do it?
I read a LOT of research, and after all these years, I know that research can never describe the human experience. That is why I am sharing it here with you today. After all, healthcare is both an art and a science.
First, a little bit of information about me. I tend to be lean and thin, regardless of what I eat, so a fast may affect me differently than someone who has a lot of extra pounds.
I have an ectomorph-type build, and have a hard time putting on muscle. This is a sign that prolonged fasting should never be in my repertoire. If this describes you, please also avoid extended fasts.
But, as I get older, keeping the weight off my belly has become increasingly harder than when I was young. By intermittent fasting, I have been able to almost effortlessly lose my belly fat. When I first started intermittent fasting, I used the 12-12-hour fasting schedule. This allowed me to adapt to less snacking at night and sometimes forgoing breakfast too. It was a bit challenging at first, but after a couple of days, it was quite easy. Gradually, I extended my fast to 16 8-hour fasting, and this has become quite easy too. It helps to add in an electrolyte replacement powder drink to get over any feelings of deprivation in the morning or evening.
Now, I fast on a 14 10 schedule almost every day of the week and sometimes go as long as a 20-hour fast. It feels cleansing and healthy.
Other fasting experiences
My first intentional fast was the fast-mimicking type.
What surprised me? It was quite easy to follow, up until the evening of the second day. I started getting a pretty bad headache at that point, so I ended my fast at 2 days.
I felt pretty good throughout it up until that point, and did, in fact, feel cleansed and quite healthy and good.
The first time I followed a fast-mimicking diet, even for just 2 days, I had lost about 3 lbs, which for me, is a lot. I kept the weight off despite returning to my normal eating schedule and without even trying.
It really isn’t even that restrictive: 1000 calories a day or slightly less for a few days. I loaded up on copious amounts of vegetables during my fast since I need to eat real food.
The downside of a fast-mimicking diet for me
I had a noticeable loss of my arm muscle mass. I didn’t gain it back easily either; I always struggle to hold on to upper body strength.
Here are the variables that research ISN’T measuring about fasting. How do I know? I experienced them.
Fast mimicking had some untoward effects on my psychology of eating for me for a while. For example, it made me a little preoccupied with eating when I went back to a normal eating schedule.
This could be a problem for those predisposed to eating disorders. In contrast, I don’t feel any of these problems when I use a 14-10 intermittent fasting schedule when I allow myself to eat the foods I love.
Some people may waste muscle with a fast-mimicking diet. I lose muscle really easily, especially in my upper extremities.
In other words, I much prefer a 14 10 fast or a 16 8 fast to fast-mimicking personally.
Who Should Fast and Who Should Avoid Fasting?
The potential health benefits of fasting are broad; it can have a “cleansing” effect by dampening down inflammation, may reduce the risk of diabetes, reducing body weight, and more.
Some people, such as children and adolescents and those on medications that affect blood sugar, should not try fasting without medical supervision.
Fasting should be done in the context of a usually balanced and healthy diet. If this isn’t you, work on getting your diet balanced first.
14 10 Intermittent Fasting Summary
Fasting for 14 hours is safe for most people and is effective in helping achieve many health goals. As always, make sure you inform your healthcare provider BEFORE starting any new health regimen.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 20 years, has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. Has researched supplements and plants as medicine throughout her career. Loves helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body and is shared for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.