Looking to Lose Weight? Keep an Eye on the Clock

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Given the infinite supply of weight loss tips posted on the internet by anonymous sources, it can be hard to decipher between the truth and the latest “weight loss miracle” myth. Fortunately, a recent weight loss study has provided weight-loss seekers with scientifically substantial advice. Marta Garaulet and Dr. Frank Scheer suggest it’s not just towering calorie counts you need to be concerned about; you also need to consider the time of day that you’re eating meals. A recent study they conducted showed that people who eat earlier in the day lose more weight than those who eat later. 420 participants were divided into two study groups: early eaters (people who ate lunch before 3 p.m.) and late eaters (people who ate lunch after 3p.m.). The study was conducted in Spain, where lunch contributes to about 40% of person’s daily calorie intake, during a 20-week weight loss program. Gauraulet and Scheer found that the early eaters lost 25% more weight than the late eaters.

What’s the science behind this result, you ask? Fat tissue cells, like the majority of cells in the human body, run on a 24-hour “clock.” Eating meals at abnormal times can cause the clocks of these cells, as well as those of liver and pancreas cells, to become de-synchronized from the brain’s main clock. Consequently, your body’s metabolism becomes thrown off and will not perform at its optimum level. The body also handles high glucose levels best in the morning. This means that eating a meal high in carbohydrates later in the day could result in weight gain.
Many of the late eaters involved in this study were setting themselves up for disaster by eating a small breakfast or skipping the meal entirely. This habit can cause the body to enter “storage mode,” leading to overeating later in the day. So if you’re aiming to lose weight, keep in mind that eating a smaller breakfast could result in the opposite of your desired effect. Make eating breakfast a priority and try to organize your schedule so that your lunch hour falls before 3 p.m.

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