By this point, you’ve heard every piece of weight loss advice in the world. So you’ve probably learned that everyone has their own ideas regarding meal timing. Some say breakfast is a necessity, while others believe in a series of small meals interspersed throughout the day, while still others have completely different ideas. But what does the research say?
First, keep in mind that every living creature on Earth maintains a circadian rhythm revolving around our 24-hour days. Over many thousands of years we have adapted to our planetary home’s cycles, and so your sleeping, eating, and activity patterns will reflect that fact. Even your body temperature and hormonal fluctuations are affected by your 24-hour circadian rhythm!
So, with regard to weight loss, how does your body clock factor into the equation? And does meal timing matter? Scientists have addressed that very question, with interesting results.
In one study, participants were asked to consume the majority of their calories before 3 pm each day, and then fast until the following morning. These participants showed improvements in insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and oxidative stress, implying that this eating schedule might benefit our health.
In another study, participants were divided into two groups, and each group was allotted a 1,400-calorie-per-day diet. However, one group was asked to consume most of those calories at breakfast and lunch, while the other group ate at least half of their calories at dinner. After three months on this program, the early-eating group had lost and average of 19 pounds. Meanwhile, the group that concentrated most of their calories into dinner had only lost an average of 8 pounds.
These results do seem to suggest that focusing on breakfast and lunch, and either fasting for the rest of the day or eating only a very light dinner, might spur the most weight loss. Of course, fasting is not appropriate for some people due to health conditions or other factors. When planning your weight loss strategy, schedule an appointment with us so that we can discuss not just your calorie consumption but also your eating schedule. We can help you put together a plan that brings you the best results for your body type and lifestyle.