Does Eating a Later Lunch Have an Effect on Weight Loss?
I am sure that quite a few of you are familiar with the adage "we are what we eat." If you are an American much of your diet might very well consist of fast food and processed food. In these cases what we eat is junk and what we are is fat. Choice matters, but there also seems to be a correlation between weight gain and meal timing. There is little doubt that what we eat is relevant to weight gain, but now it seems that when we eat also has a measure of importance.
**The Late Lunch Consequenc **
The belief that eating later promotes weight gain had been explored prior although evidence from credible human studies had yet to be introduced. Until recently, studies on animal subjects best supported the contention that meal timing effects weight gain. A new study published in the International Journal of Obesity may lend credence to the assertion that meal timing plays a role in weight gain for people as well as animals.
Four hundred and twenty subjects in Spain participated in a twenty week long weight loss program that was monitored by Harvard researchers as well as others.
The subjects were split into two groups. Each group had similar diets, similar amounts of sleep, and similar caloric intake and expenditures. The main difference between the groups was the time at which one group ate the main meal of the day. In a Mediterranean population the main meal of the day is lunch, and 40 percent of an individuals daily calories are consumed at that meal
All participants received some nutritional education and advice regarding the number of portions to eat from each of the food groups. No mention was made regarding what time of the day to eat at, and one group consistently ate lunch before 3 p.m. while the other consistently ate lunch after 3 p.m.
Those who ate lunch after 3 p.m. lost about 17 lbs. during the study while those who ate lunch before 3 p.m. lost 22 lbs.
The timing of other meals did not appear to have any effect in the weight loss. The participants who ate at a later time also showed lower insulin sensitivity which is known to increase the potential for diabetes.
The results of the study suggest that the timing of meals influences weight loss. It should also be noted that because participants reported their food intake and levels of physical activity that inaccuracies in this reporting may have influenced the test results.
At this time, no conclusion as to how meal timing influences weight loss can be made although previous studies in animals suggests that meal timing affects metabolism. Researchers have speculated that eating at odd times may disrupt the synchronization between the organs of the body and the brain and therefore affect how the body uses and store energy.
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Cheryl Ann Borne, writing as My Bariatric Life, is a contributing writer and Paleo recipe developer for HealthCentral’s Obesity Community. Cheryl is an award-winning healthcare communications professional and obesity health advocate who has overcome super obesity and it’s related diseases. She publishes the website MyBariatricLife.org and microblogs on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Cheryl also is writing her first book and working on a second website. Watch her transformational video on Vimeo.