Meal Timing for Weight Loss

Meal Timing is Crucial to Losing Weight

meal timingThe world today is populated with processed foods meant to make one’s life easier. However, one of the repercussions of processed food dominance is that many people are battling obesity. Eating the right foods—fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein sources—isn’t that common anymore, not like it was fifty years ago. One of the most important factors in weight management is the total amount of calories eaten by a person in a day. Another is the physical activity the person engages in. According to new research, there is actually something about the timing of meals and the variations of foods consumed that can help in weight loss.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston had a team of researchers who had found out that the timing of a meal is critical when it comes to losing weight. The scientists’ findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity, where it is stated that weight loss is dependent not only on what you eat, but also in when you eat it. According to the study author Dr. Frank Sheer, “This is the first large-scale prospective study to demonstrate that the timing of meals predicts weight-loss effectiveness.”

Meal timing, a critical factor for weight loss

The study used to determine the importance of timing one’s food and its relation to weight loss has been conducted with the help of 420 overweight participants. All the participants came from Spain and followed a standard 20-week lunch program for weight loss. There were two groups used for the study: early eaters and late eaters. Early eaters had their meals before 3 PM while late-eaters ate after 3 PM. Forty percent of the participants’ daily calories were consumed at the main meal, which is lunch in Spain.

According to findings, late-eaters lost less weight than early-eaters and had a slower rate of weight loss. Furthermore, there is lower insulin sensitivity in the late-eaters, which could make them more susceptible to diabetes. “This is the first large-scale prospective study to demonstrate that the timing of meals predicts weight-loss effectiveness…novel therapeutic strategies should incorporate not only the caloric intake and macronutrient distribution, as it is classically done, but also the timing of food,” said Dr. Sheer in conclusion.

Researchers also found out that the late-eaters, who lost the least amount of weight, were more likely to skip the first meal of the day and generally consumed fewer calories in breakfast. This supports previous studies saying that eating a high protein breakfast is important in stimulating weight loss. Traditional factors such as total calorie intake and expenditure and appetite hormones had also been accounted for in the study. There was no difference between the two groups, which indicates that the meal timing is indeed the critical and independent risk factor when considering losing weight.

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