Weight loss – Effect of temporal feeding on weight loss
Translated by: Hanan Zia
Some of the most popular diet advice in recent years has centered around the idea that proper timing of meals can make a huge difference in the amount of weight you lose. It has long been said that if you want to lose weight it is best to eat a big meal at the beginning of the day and eat smaller meals the rest of the day.
The reasoning behind this theory is understandable, especially given that nearly every cell in the body follows the same 24-hour cycle that we do. Circadian clocks are found throughout the body and regulate circadian rhythms for most biological functions, including metabolism. Because of these metabolic rhythms, scientists have suggested that the way we process meals varies at different times of the day. This area of research is called “chronic nutrition” and it has great potential to help improve people’s health.
Two studies from 2013 indicated that consuming more calories earlier in the day and fewer calories in the evening helped people lose weight. However, a major new study found that while the relative size of breakfast and dinner affected self-reported appetite, it had no effect on metabolism and weight loss.
To investigate the link between breakfast and dinner size and their effect on hunger, a team of researchers at the Universities of Aberdeen and Surrey conducted a controlled study of healthy but overweight people. To investigate the link between breakfast and dinner size and their effect on hunger, participants were fed two diets each for four weeks: breakfast Big and small dinner, small breakfast with big dinner. We kept lunch the same, presenting all meals so we knew exactly how many calories the study participants were consuming. We measured the participants’ metabolism, including monitoring how many calories they burned. All study participants had both dietary statuses so that the effect of meal patterns in the same people could be compared.
We predicted that a large breakfast and a small dinner would increase calories burned and weight lost. Instead, the results of the trial found no differences in body weight or any biological measures of energy use between the two meal patterns. Measures of energy use included basal metabolic rate (the number of calories your body uses while resting), physical activity, and use of a chemical form of water that is consumed. Enables an assessment of your total daily energy usage. There were also no differences in 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 short-term studies (one to six days) of meal timing, in which participants live in a laboratory respiratory room (a small, airtight room equipped with basic amenities) for the duration of the experiment. The research indicates that the way our bodies process Calorie intake in the morning versus evening does not affect weight loss in the way that has been reported in other studies.
In our study, the only difference was the change in self-reported hunger and related factors such as how much food they wanted to eat. The large breakfast and small dinner pattern throughout the day caused participants to report less hunger throughout the day. This effect may be beneficial for people looking to lose weight, as it may help them better control their hunger and eat less.
As with all research there were some limitations to our study. We studied participants for just four weeks per meal pattern. Previous research has shown the largest differences in the effects of early versus late energy intake after four weeks. However, the fact that neither calories eaten nor calories burned changed over four weeks shows that body weight is unlikely to have changed if the study had been longer. Study participants were also allowed to choose the exact time for each meal, although there was little difference in timing in each meal pattern.
Timed nutrition continues to be an exciting research area and there is growing evidence that meal timing can play an important role in improving the health of many people. However, our latest research suggests that the time of day you eat your largest meal is not as important to weight loss as we once thought. (Watch the article’s YouTube video)