The WHEN of Weight Loss

Does when you eat really play a role in how likely you are to gain weight?

According to recently published research, the answer to this question may actually be yes. A new study found that pushing when you are eating the majority of your calories to earlier in the day may be helpful in your weight loss efforts.

A new body of research has found that shifting mealtimes to a condensed window of time earlier in the day can help promote weight loss efforts. There are actually several reasons as to why this may be helpful in supporting your weight loss efforts. To start, limiting the amount of time that you spend eating throughout the day can naturally decrease how much you eat daily. What’s more, this style of eating is actually found to promote a decreased appetite and stronger metabolism.

In the study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, researchers guided participants through a diet program that limited their food consumption to between the hours of 8 am and 2 pm only, which meant an 18 hour period of fasting daily. This dietary structure is similar to the intermittent fasting model of eating, which encourages periods of 18-24 hours of fasting in between regularly spaced healthy meals. Cutting down on the number of hours during which you are eating can naturally decrease how much you are eating daily, which supports weight loss efforts. However, researchers also found that following this model of periodic fasting actually encourages slight hormone changes that can further promote weight loss.

While intermittent fasting is becoming a more common practice in weight loss programs, that doesn’t mean that it is the best weight loss program for everyone. For example, after having weight loss surgery it may not be advised to practice this style of fasting, as your body will require much smaller meals at regular intervals to sustain your nutritional needs. What’s more, overeating during your meals so that you are preparing for your period of fasting can counteract the benefits of engaging in the fasting in the first place.

The best thing to do when you are trying to lose weight is to consult with your weight loss surgeon. Don’t make any changes to the foods you are eating (or when you are choosing to eat them!) until you talk to your weight loss doctor.