Eating meals at slightly different times can potentially double weight loss, multiple studies find.
In addition, adding supplements to the diet can also boost weight loss.
Changing meal timings involves eating the evening meal a little earlier and breakfast a little later.
People in one study who had their breakfast 90 minutes later and supper 90 minutes earlier doubled their weight loss.
Other than this change, people in the study were free to eat what they liked.
To increase weight loss even further, reducing calorie intake and doing more exercise will be beneficial.
Another way to increase weight loss is to use supplements.
While many supplements have little evidence to support them, increasing protein intake has been shown to be effective.
However, protein supplements should be taken with meals rather than in between, to help boost weight loss.
Professor Wayne Campbell, study co-author, explained:
“It may matter when you take your supplements in relation to when you eat meals, so people who consume protein supplements in between meals as snacks may be less likely to be successful in managing their body weight.”
The research reviewed 34 separate studies — these found that protein supplements taken between meals led to weight gain.
However, when taken with meals, protein supplements can boost weight maintenance and loss.
Professor Campbell said:
“Such dietary compensation is likely missing when protein supplements are consumed as snacks.
Calories at meal times may not be adjusted to offset the supplement’s calories, thus leading to a higher calorie intake for that day.
If the goal is to manage weight, then snacking on protein supplements may be less effective.
People who are trying to gain weight may consider consuming protein supplements between meals.”
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 Nutrition Reviews (Hudson et al., 2019).