We know to watch what we eat, but when we eat may be just as relevant.
There are many factors that go into a responsible weight management plan. Traditional strategies have focused on balancing the number of calories we eat with the number we burn off throughout the day, as well as getting the proper mix of macro nutrients. What’s becoming an emerging trend in research, however, is that when we eat may be as important as what we eat.
A recent 20-week study that included 420 overweight participants looked at the effect of the timing of large meals on weight loss. Researchers split participants into two groups: those who ate lunch before 3 pm and those who ate lunch after 3 pm. These lunches were substantial in that they made up about 40 percent of the participants’ daily caloric intake.
Results showed that those who ate lunch late were slower at losing weight and lost significantly less weight than the early eaters. Late eaters were also more likely to skip breakfast and had lower insulin sensitivity, which is a risk factor for diabetes.
While more research may be needed to determine what makes for effective timing in terms of weight management, the study gives us reason to look at our own meal routines.
The importance of breakfast
Do you eat breakfast? In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, those who skipped breakfast were more than four times as likely to be obese than those who ate breakfast daily.
Make and plan ahead
A bit of leg work to get your meals planned ahead of time can help keep us on track. Read these articles for tips on planning ahead:
- “12 Months of Wellness”
- “Healthy Make-Ahead Meals”
- “Resolve to Brown Bag It”
- “#2013alive: Plan Ahead—Eat Well by Practising Meal Planning”