Eating late has long been linked with weight gain, without much knowledge as to why. Now, a new study might explain why this happens, and why having an early dinner might be helpful for staying healthy and promoting weight loss.
The research, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, also found some positive outcomes in regards to intermittent fasting, showing that meals eaten within a 10-hour window might be the healthier choice overall.
Per the research, which was conducted by physicians from Harvard Medical School, the time of the day in which we eat affects numerous things, like our hunger levels, our daily energy and where our body stores fat.
The study involved 16 overweight participants, all of whom ate the same meals on different schedules. They also stuck to sleep and wake up schedules, trying their best to maintain the study as homogenous as possible.
Researchers explain that there was an early group, who had the meals at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m., and a late group, who ate at 1 p.m., 5 p.m., and 9 p.m. The study also counted with a variety of evidence from participants, including blood samples, their temperature and self-reports on their hunger levels.
While there has long been a link between late eating and weight loss, it’s never been understood.
RELATED: Researchers Pinpoint Efficient Way To Lose Weight
Results showed that participants who ate late reported more hunger and were less energetic. A look at their samples showed that they burned calories more slowly than the early group, all of which amassed in higher odds of obesity.
“This study shows the impact of late versus early eating. Here, we isolated these effects by controlling for confounding variables like caloric intake, physical activity, sleep, and light exposure, but in real life, many of these factors may themselves be influenced by meal timing,” explained senior author Frank Scheer.
RELATED: Drinking Four Cups Of Tea Daily Could Lower Risk Of This Disease, Finds Study
Researchers explain that by keeping the study small, they were more likely to control outside factors like sleep schedules and the meals that were consumed, resulting in a study that shows a better understanding of how the body works and why obesity tends to affect people who eat at later times.