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Weight loss: The time of day you eat your biggest meal has little effect – new study

by Jonathan Johnson, University of Surrey and Alex Johnstone and Peter Morgan, University of Aberdeen Guildford/Aberdeen

Some of the most popular dietary advice in recent years has centered around the idea that right time for your meal Can make a big difference in the amount of weight you lose. It was long said that if you want to lose weight it is best to eat more at the beginning of the day and keep any subsequent meals smaller.

The reasoning behind this theory is understandable, especially considering that nearly every cell in the body follows the same 24-hour cycle that we do. Circadian clocks are found throughout the body and control the daily rhythm of most of our biological functions, including metabolism,

Because of these metabolic rhythms, scientists have proposed that the way we process food varies at different times of the day. This area of ​​research is called “chrono-nutrition,” and it has great potential to help improve people’s health.

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Two 2013 studies suggested that consuming more calories during the day and fewer calories in the evening helps people reduce weight, Yet a major new study finds that the relative size of breakfast and dinner affects self-reported hunger, but has no effect on metabolism and weight loss.

To examine the link between breakfast and dinner sizes and their effect appetite, a team of researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen and Surrey conducted a controlled study in healthy but overweight people. participants were irrigated Two diets, each for four weeks: a large breakfast and a small dinner, and a small snack with a large dinner. We kept the lunch there.

We provided all the meals so that we could know how many calories the study participants were consuming. We measured the participants’ metabolism, which involves monitoring how many calories They got burnt.

All study participants adopted both dietary conditions so that the effects of meal patterns could be compared in similar people.

We predicted that a large breakfast and small dinner would burn calories and lead to weight loss. Instead, the results of the experiment found no difference in any biological measure of body weight or energy use between the two meal patterns.

Measures of energy use include basal metabolic rate (how many calories your body uses at rest), physical activity, and the use of the chemical form of water which enables an assessment of total daily energy use.

There was also no difference in the daily levels of blood glucose, insulin or lipids. This is important because changes in these factors in the blood are associated with metabolic health.

Our findings are consistent with those of short-term (one to six days) meal-time studies, where participants remain in a laboratory breathing room (a small, airtight room equipped with basic comfort) for the duration of the experiment. Together, the research shows that the way our bodies process calories in the morning versus evening does not affect weight loss As has been reported in other studies.

In our study, the only difference was a change in self-reported sense of hunger and related factors, such as how much they wanted to eat. Throughout the day, eating patterns of large breakfasts and small dinners made participants report less hunger throughout the day. This effect can be useful for people looking to lose weight, as it can help them better control their appetite and eat less.

Like all research, our study also had some limitations. We studied participants for each meal pattern only for four weeks. Previous research has shown the greatest difference in the effects of early versus late energy intake after four weeks. However, the fact that neither calories consumed nor calories burned over the four weeks indicates that body weight is unlikely to change as the study lengthened.

Study participants were also allowed to choose the correct timing of each meal. Despite this, there was a negligible difference in timing in each feeding method.

Chrono-nutrition remains an exciting research area and there is increasing evidence that meal timing can play an important role in improving the health of many people. However, our latest research indicates that the biggest meal of the day is not as important for weight loss as previously thought.

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