Eating Early Supports Weight Loss, New Study Finds

The earlier you eat, the more likely you are to lose weight, according to a new study.

The new study claims that eating an early lunch as your main meal of the day can help support weight loss.

Published in the International Journal of Obesity, the study was produced by researchers at the University of Murcia, Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Tufts University. It included 420 overweight men and women who had their diets limited to 1,400 calories a day for 20 weeks.

On average, participants who ate earlier lost 22 pounds. Participants who ate later lost 17 pounds.

Frank Scheer, director of the Medical Chronobiology Program and associate neuroscientist at the Women’s Hospital and co-author of the study, spoke on NPR about the findings:

“This was the first long-term large-scale study to really demonstrate that the timing of meals can predict weight-loss effectiveness.”

He explains his theory on why eating early supports weight loss:

“When the timing of meals doesn’t match with the sleep-wave cycle, there is a disconnect between the different clocks we have in, basically, all the cells in our body.”

According to the study, the only real difference between the participants was what times they ate meals. The men and women were split into two groups based on whether they were early or late eaters. There was no difference in exercise, sleep levels, or reported hunger.

Scheer concludes:

“What the study does is that it emphasizes that we should start thinking not only about what we eat but also when we eat. It may be that we can improve, using this novel concept, existing dietary interventions in the battle against obesity.”

Interested in more health studies? Another recent study showed that vegetarians are 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease.

Are you curious to find out if eating earlier would help you lose weight?

[image via Wikimedia Commons]