Could changing the timing of your meals help you lose weight naturally? University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) researchers found out…

In the first human test of early time-restricted feeding (eTRF) – in which people eat their last meal by the mid-afternoon – researchers found reduced swings in hunger and altered fat and carbohydrate burning patterns.

What does this mean?

“Eating only during a much smaller window of time than people are typically used to may help with weight loss,” explains Courtney Peterson, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at UAB.

“We found that eating between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. followed by an 18-hour daily fast kept appetite levels more even throughout the day, in comparison to eating between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., which is what the average American does.”

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“We found that eating between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. followed by an 18-hour daily fast kept appetite levels more even throughout the day…” – Courtney Peterson, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Eat early

This research suggests that eating a very early dinner or skipping dinner, may help us lose weight.

Why does it work?

The human body has an internal clock, and many aspects of metabolism are at their optimal functioning in the morning. Therefore, eating in alignment with the body’s circadian clock by eating earlier in the day may have a positive effect.

Related: Fasting boosts metabolism

The study

The researchers followed 11 overweight men and women over four days of eating between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., and four days of eating between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

They then tested the impact of eTRF on calories burned, fat burned and appetite.

Participants tried both eating schedules, ate the same number of calories both times and completed all testing under supervision.

The benefits of eating early

Although eTRF did not affect how many total calories the participants burned, researchers found it had the following benefits:

  • reduced daily hunger swings
  • increased fat burning during several hours at night
  • improved metabolic flexibility, which is the body’s ability to switch between burning carbs and burning fats

Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham www.sciencedaily.com

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