Have you ever wondered why you keep gaining weight despite sticking to a rigorous weight loss meal plan? Perhaps you may need to review the timing of your meals carefully. Why? A recent study has revealed that choosing to eat later in the day leads to increase weight gain.
The findings of the study were presented on Sunday, June 4, 2017 during the conference ‘SLEEP 2017’ which is the 31st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).
According to a statement released by lead author, Dr Namni Goel, a research associate professor of psychology in Psychiatry in the division of Sleep and Chronobiology, “We know from our sleep loss studies that when you’re sleep deprived, it negatively affects weight and metabolism in part due to late-night eating, but now these early findings, which control for sleep, give a more comprehensive picture of the benefits of eating earlier in the day.”
How did the researchers arrive at this conclusion?
In a small experimental study involving nine healthy weight adults ate three meals and two snacks between 8a.m and 7 p.m. After a period of two weeks, they were asked to eat three meals and two snacks from 12 noon to 11p.m. The weight and other metabolic parameters of the participants were monitored strictly and differences noted. The result was that eating later in the day (12 noon to 11pm) resulted in weight gain and a rise in cholesterol, blood sugar and fats.
The researchers explained that these could be due to the impact of two hormones: ghrelin and leptin that control appetite and satiety respectively.
How can the outcome of this study potentially affect you?
Many individuals have often wondered if timing should be considered when taking meals. Sometimes, you may wake up late, have brunch by 12noon to 2pm and continue to eat meals or snacks till bedtime (which could be as late as 2 a.m for night owls).
This study adds to the growing knowledge that breakfast is a very important meal of the day.
Sometimes, we skip breakfast due to hectic schedules, deadlines and other challenges. Could this account for your inability to lose weight? If you are trying to lose weight, everything counts.
It is generally accepted that the right kind of balance between nutrition and exercise is key to achieving your weight goals. Now there may be more to reducing calories. The finding of this study suggests that timing of meals may also be important. When you delay eating, the tendency to gain weight may increase.