When You Eat Makes a Difference
There’s been a debate raging for decades about whether it matters for weight loss what time you eat. Some experts say yes and some no. Not that I’m pushing weight loss here, because I’m not, but if you’re trying to shed pounds, it pays to know what will help and hinder that process. A new study says that when you eat does make a difference.
“A study in the International Journal of Obesity lends supports to the idea that eating earlier in the day is better, at least if you are trying to lose weight.” (University of CA, Berkeley Wellness Letter, 11/13, page 4). In fact, according to researchers, “the timing of the main meal by itself seems to be the most determinant factor in weight-loss effectiveness, and therefore eating at the right time may be a relevant factor to consider in weight-loss therapies.”
I don’t do weight-loss therapy or coaching, but most clients come to me and read my books because they want to slim down. Even though I explain (and explain and explain) that weight loss comes at the end of the eating process, that remains the goal for most of them. Unfortunately, people who want to lose weight often end up skipping breakfast and/or lunch and eat most of their food at the end of the day. In fact, one of their major problems is eating later in the day at work or when they’re home at night.
The science behind why eating later may put on weight or prevent its loss is based on “circadian (our body clock) variations in insulin and other hormones involved in blood sugar control and appetite. In addition, so-called clock genes in adipose tissue may affect how much fat is absorbed and metabolized (burned), while clock genes in the liver may influence carbohydrate metabolism.” All this makes sense when you think about evolution and how we’d want to eat early to have the energy necessary to go out and find food for ourselves during daylight hours.
So, where does that leave you regarding when you eat? If you’ve been having difficulty shedding pounds, it may pay to experiment a bit with the timing of your eating. Try consuming more food earlier in the day, say, planning an earlier lunch or dinner. This advice is one of the easier suggestions to follow if you’re pursuing weight loss because it doesn’t involve giving up your favorite foods or any kind of restriction. It does involve planning your day differently and talking to friends and family and even colleagues with whom you eat about changing your feeding schedule. Do some experimenting and give yourself time to get used to a new schedule. This is doable, folks, so give it a whirl.