Meal Times and Weight Loss

Posted on January 29 2013

Losing weight can be a challenging task to accomplish. However, when you are eating may be hindering losing those extra couple pounds. A new study out today in the International Journal of Obesity shows that eating meals later can limit weight loss. The study was performed in Spain and looked at 420 participants that were overweight and trying to slim down. Split into two groups, the participants were assigned either an early- or late-lunch time. Early lunches were classified as eating before 3 p.m., while late lunches were classified as eating after 3 p.m. Something to keep in mind, in Spain and many other European or Mediterranean countries, lunch is the largest meal of the day bringing in most of the day’s calories (550-570). Given the largest daily meal time, this is why the focus was put on lunch. Through a 20-week period, those in the early-lunch group lost an average of 5 pounds more than their late-lunch counterparts. Late-lunch eaters also were more likely to eat less calories or not at all during the breakfast period.  Additionally, late lunch eaters displayed a lower level of insulin sensitivity, which is a risk factor for the development of diabetes. While many in the health and nutrition field are finding the results interesting, the study still remains an observational one. Experts point out that no cause and effect relationship was determined, so it is hard to say that eating larger calorie amounts, earlier in the day actually affects weight loss. However, there may be some merit in eating calories earlier in the day, even if that merit is only an extra 1 or 2 pound weight loss in 20 weeks. More study will have to be done to determine the cause and effect relationship between weight loss and eating time. One dietician, though skeptical, points out that there may be some truth to the old saying "Eat breakfast like king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper." Sources: Time - Healthland - USA Today - Health & Wellness - My Health News Daily -


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