Eating Early in the Day May Help Weight

We have spoken on the blog for our sister supplement, Glucocil, about how meal timing and also how the frequency of meals and snacks may impact your weight. Intermittent fasting, or eating during a window of time without snacks, may help control weight. Depending on your lifestyle and habits, it may be far easier to maintain a schedule as opposed to a meal plan while attempting to lose weight.

A new study has shown that eating early in the day may be best as it will lower a person’s appetite. This is the first study that shows how meal timing impacts the 24-hour energy metabolism when the amount of food and meal frequency are matched. An older study from Japan found that night snacking did interfere with the body’s metabolic cycle and increased the risk of obesity. They saw that people were less hungry when they ate their meals in the morning. Moreover, Early Time-Restricted Feeding (eTRF) — intermittent fasting where dinner is consumed in the afternoon — aided people’s ability to switch between burning carbs to burning fat, a process known as metabolic flexibility.

Participants in the study were assigned to either eat three meals over eight hours, with dinner being eaten at 2 PM or eating over 12 hours with dinner at 8. The same types of food and amounts were served. When the researcher examined their metabolisms, using a respiratory chamber, they saw interesting results. People who were fasting 18 hours a day had lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and were burning more fat. However, the researchers are quick to caution that the study was short. They say longer studies with more participants are needed to see if these eating habits can help people lose weight outside of a study environment.

When asked about the results, lead author Dr. Courtney Peterson, of the Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham said, “We suspect that a majority of people may find meal timing strategies helpful for losing weight or to maintain their weight since these strategies naturally appear to curb appetite, which may help people eat less.

More extensive animal studies didn’t have quite the same results. In animal studies, it’s easy to make the mice or rats not eat at all on fast days. If the researchers don’t feed them, they don’t eat. In people, it’s much harder to follow that diet. And it may be just as challenging to maintain that rigorous schedule as it is to stick to a restrictive diet.

While studies in rodents mostly report that intermittent fasting is beneficial for health, the studies in people have been mixed. From what we can tell so far, some of the more extreme forms of intermittent fasting — such as alternate-day fasting and alternate-day modified fasting — don’t appear to be as sustainable long-term and/or are not any more effective than regular dieting,” said Dr. Peterson. “By contrast, and quite encouragingly, most of the studies on time-restricted feeding in people have reported positive results when people practiced time-restricted feeding by eating early in the day or the middle of the day.

This may be an excellent strategy for people who find diets hard to follow. Restricting calories or cutting out food may be much more challenging to maintain than changing your mealtimes. Speak to your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle. Your doctor knows your medical history and personal needs and can help you make the best decisions for yourself.
August 02, 2019

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