It's not just what you eat, but when: Eating lunch too late may make you fat
Those who eat lunch after 3pm shed fewer pounds than those eating earlierLate eaters were also more likely to skip eating breakfast
Daily Mail Reporter
10:07 GMT, 29 January 2013
12:03 GMT, 29 January 2013
Late eaters displayed a slower weight-loss rate
It's not just what you eat – it's also when you eat that is key to losing weight, according to a new study.
Researchers found that people who eat their main meal earlier in the day have a better chance of beating the bulge.
Meanwhile those who tucked into a late night kebab lose 'significantly less weight' than early eaters, and also put themselves at greater risk of developing diabetes.
The findings, published in the International Journal of Obesity, could help develop more effective weight-loss plans.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and the University of Murcia studied 420 overweight people who
followed a 20-week weight-loss treatment programme in Spain.
Senior author Dr Frank Scheer, from BWH said: 'This is the
first large-scale prospective study to demonstrate that the timing of
meals predicts weight-loss effectiveness.
'Our results indicate that late eaters displayed a slower weight-loss
rate and lost significantly less weight than early eaters, suggesting
that the timing of large meals could be an important factor in a weight
The team divided the particpants into two groups: early eaters and late eaters. During this meal, 40 per cent of the total daily calories were consumed.
Early eaters ate lunch any time before 3pm and late eaters, after 3pm. They found that late eaters lost significantly less weight than early eaters, and displayed a much slower rate of weight loss.
Late eaters also had a lower estimated insulin sensitivity, a risk factor for diabetes.
Obesity is a growing problem in western countries. 26% of adults in the UK are obese
The researchers found that timing of other, smaller, meals did not play a role in the success of weight loss.
However, the late eaters – who lost less weight – also ate fewer calories during breakfast and were more likely to skip breakfast altogether. Late-eaters also had a lower estimated insulin sensitivity, a risk factor for diabetes.
The researchers also examined other traditional factors that play a role in weight loss such as total calorie intake and expenditure, appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin, and sleep duration.
Among these factors, researchers found no differences between both groups, suggesting that the timing of the meal was an important and independent factor in weight loss success.
Study co-author Doctor Marta Garaulet, from the University of Murcia, added: 'This study emphasises that the timing of food intake itself may play a significant role in weight regulation.
'Novel therapeutic strategies should incorporate not only the caloric intake and macronutrient distribution, as it is classically done, but also the timing of food.'