Could the time when you eat, be as important as what you eat?

Most weight loss plans are centered around a balance between caloric intake and energy expenditure. However, new research has shed light on a new factor that is necessary for weight loss: the time. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), in collaboration with the University of Murcia and Tufts University have found that it is not just what you eat, but also when you eat, it can help with weight regulation- loss.

The study will be published on January 29, 2013 in the International Journal of Obesity.

“This is the first large prospective study to show that the time predicted meals to lose weight effectively,” said Frank Scheer, PhD, MSc, Director of Medical Chronobiology Program at BWH and associate neuroscientist, assistant professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, and lead author of this study. “Our results indicate that people who eat later have a lower rate of weight loss significantly less than those who eat early, suggesting that the large meal times can be a important factor in a weight loss program. “

To evaluate the role of food in the time to lose weight effectively, the researchers studied 420 overweight participants following a 20-week weight loss treatment program in Spain. The participants were divided into two groups: those who eat early and late dining, according to the time of self-selected main meal, which in this Mediterranean population was lunch. During this dinner, 40 percent of total daily calories consumed.

“This study highlights that the timing of food intake itself may play a role in weight regulation,” explains Marta Garaulet, PhD, professor of physiology at the University of Murcia, Spain, and lead author of the study. “Novel therapeutic strategies debne incorporate not only caloric intake and macronutrient distribution, as is traditionally done, but also the time of the meal.”

 

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