Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Study: When you eat is as important as what you eat, apparently

A recent study has apparently shown that when you eat has consequences for weight loss, and early eaters lose more weight than late eaters.

As the Toronto Star noted:
Researchers divided participants into two groups, based on when they ate their largest meal of the day, which in Spain [the location of the study] happens to be lunch, when about 40 per cent of the day’s calories are consumed. Early eaters were those who lunched before 3 p.m., while late eaters ate after 3 p.m.
Early eaters lost about 25 per cent more weight, said Scheer, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Meanwhile, late eaters were more likely to either skip breakfast or consume fewer calories at breakfast, and they displayed lower insulin sensitivity, which is a risk factor for diabetes.
 The scientists apparently also looked at factors typically involved in weight loss such as caloric intake, energy expenditure, sleep duration and appetite hormones (leptin and ghrelin), but there was little difference between both groups. And the timing of the other smaller meals did not affect weight loss. This suggests that the timing of the main meal is itself an important factor when it comes to weight loss.

It would be interesting to see if the same pattern holds true in North America, where we typically eat our largest meal in the evening, at dinner.

Could my experience support this research?  I try and arrange my food consumption during the day so that I am eating more of my calories at lunchtime, rather than at dinner.  This is not because of any new research findings, but rather because I optimistically believe that by doing so I am giving myself more time to burn those calories over the balance of the day.  Primitive magic, I know, but I take what I can get.  If the thought that it may be helpful motivates me to eat earlier, and that has a healthy side benefit, I'm not going to fuss too much about it.


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