New research suggests that if you want to lose weight, you should focus not just on what you eat, but also when you eat — particularly for your biggest meals of the day.
Photo by Tatiana Popova (Shutterstock)
The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, was conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Tufts University, and the University of Murcia in Spain. 420 overweight volunteers in Spain were put on a 20-week weight-loss program and divided into either an early-eaters group or a late-eaters group, according to their own preferences for when they ate lunch (typically the largest and main meal in Spain).
The researchers found that the late-eaters (those who ate lunch after 3PM) lost less weight than the early-eaters, had a much slower weight-loss rate, and also had a lower estimated insulin sensitivity (a risk factor for diabetes). The timing of other smaller meals didn't affect weight-loss success and the researchers found no differences between the two groups on traditional weight-loss factors such as sleep duration and total calorie intake and expenditure.
Those who ate lunch later also ate fewer calories during breakfast and were more likely to skip breakfast, however, so that could be another factor.
Eating your largest meal earlier in the day could give you a better chance of burning off those calories. Seems if you want to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, your timing could make a big difference.
Could the timing of when you eat, be just as important as what you eat? [Brigham and Women's Hospital, EurekAlert via Time]