Intermittent Fasting: The 13-Hour Rule

Intermittent Fasting: The 13-Hour Rule

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The Science Behind the Ancient Wisdom

When I was a kid, the kitchen closed after supper at around 6pm and we were forced to fast until breakfast at 7am – that was 13 hours of our day fasting without food

This was the norm for every kid in my neighborhood. I can’t remember a family that ate after 6pm. Today, a growing number of us have lost the ability to fast throughout the night without a before-bed snack. The word “breakfast” is named after the concept of a nighttime fast; the real meaning is now almost forgotten!

The word “supper,” in French, is spelled “souper,” which is related to the word “soup,” suggesting supper was small and traditionally early.

In a new study, the longer some 2413 women with breast cancer fasted after dinner till morning, the lower the risks of breast cancer recurrence. These women aged 27-70 had early stage breast cancer, but no diabetes. These women were followed for 4 years. (1)

The results found that 818 women reported fasting for over 13 hours from dinner to breakfast.

The women who fasted for LESS than 13 hours each night had a 36% HIGHER risk for breast cancer recurrence. (1)

Researchers also found that for every additional 2 hours of nighttime fasting, there was a significant reduction in blood sugar levels (as measured by a hemoglobin A1C test) and a significant improvement in sleep duration.


Researchers are theorizing that better sleep and blood sugar regulation may have something to do with the reduced risk of breast cancer re-occurrence. While the exact mechanism for this benefit is still unclear, there are thousands of years of time-tested wisdom along with good science that suggests that eating at night is not a great idea.

Numerous studies suggest that eating dinner late negatively affects blood sugar levels in the morning. (2) In another study, eating a bigger breakfast versus a bigger dinner was linked to reduced risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome, which is defined by high cholesterol and triglycerides, belly fat, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. (3)

Ayurveda suggests that adherence to a daily routine in sync with the natural circadian rhythms starts with a bigger lunch and lighter and earlier dinner. This was the premise of a pilot study I conducted based on the program in my 3-Season Diet book.

The groups ate 3 meals a day with no snacks and a bigger lunch. As their hunger cravings waned naturally, they started eating a smaller dinner and then, when ready, an earlier dinner. The results were amazing. Not only did they lose 1.2 pounds per week, but they also saw significant improvements in mood, energy, sleep and cravings.

Please read the study and get the full weight balancing program in my FREE Ayurvedic Weight Balancing eBook. It is an awesome 50-page manual to lose weight, balance blood sugar and get you fasting through the night.

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Dr. John

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