"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

How can eating schedule affect your weight?

A friend told me that she began reducing weight when she ate dinner later than 8pm (her usual time for supper). How can the timing of your meals affect your weight?

Sixteen chubby or obese young adults agreed to take part in an experiment that lasted several months. Their eating regimen and physical activity were controlled by the study. During the “early meal” study period, they ate the primary meal at 9 a.m. and the last meal at 5 p.m. Each study period included a 3rd meal between the primary and last meal. Importantly, total caloric intake and physical activity were the identical through the two study periods: only meal times were different.

Late eating significantly increased appetite, decreased levels of the hunger-suppressing hormone (leptin), increased the quantity of fat stored, and decreased the quantity of fat burned over a 24-hour period. Eating late does this by altering the activity of genes that burn and store fat. Thus, this recent study confirmed earlier research that suggested late eating results in weight gain, and the study also showed why.

Although this was a small study, and desires to be confirmed by other scientists, it is smart to me. Several years ago, my wife and I made a decision to have a giant breakfast and one other big meal within the afternoon, with healthy nibbles (nuts, fruit) in between, and perhaps our smart watches around 6 p.m. Supervised the day by day activities. Surfaces and our sleep.

Three things quickly became clear. At first, to our surprise and delight, we weren't hungry. Second, as we expected and hoped, we began reducing weight. Third, and unexpectedly, we slept more soundly at night. Dinner at a “normal” hour with friends at all times follows a nasty night's sleep. Several recent studies have found the identical effect of eating late on sleep quality.

So I like to recommend you are attempting our two-meal program, or a minimum of finish the last of your three meals before 5pm, you is likely to be surprised by the outcomes.

Photo: © Irina Weklich/Getty Images