A simple shift of mealtimes can help to increase weight loss by 100%, research finds.
Using this method, people can even lose weight without other changes to their lifestyle or diet.
The technique involves eating earlier in the day, which helps to lower the appetite.
Moving meals to earlier in the day can also help to burn more fat.
One way of achieving this change is to have both breakfast and dinner 90 minutes earlier every day.
A study of this method has shown it can double body fat loss.
Another easy approach to understand is to eat dinner in the afternoon.
The 11 people in the study ate three meals between 8am and 2pm.
After this they fasted — effectively meaning they were eating nothing from 2pm one day to 8am the next day.
The results revealed that restricting eating times helped to lower people’s appetite, compared with eating dinner at 8pm as normal.
The researchers also observed decreases in the hunger hormone ghrelin.
Having dinner at 2pm also resulted in more fat loss than eating in the evening.
Losing weight is about more than just what you eat, the researchers concluded.
Dr Eric Ravussin, the study’s first author, said:
“Coordinating meals with circadian rhythms, or your body’s internal clock, may be a powerful strategy for reducing appetite and improving metabolic health.”
Timing meals more effectively can help to boost weight loss, said Dr Courtney M. Peterson, study co-author:
“We suspect that a majority of people may find meal timing strategies helpful for losing weight or to maintain their weight since these strategies naturally appear to curb appetite, which may help people eat less.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Obesity (Ravussin et al., 2019).