A study in the journal “Obesity” shows that meal timing strategies may lead to a weight loss in an individual. The methods like having a meal earlier in a day or intermittent fasting can halt obesity.
It can do so by lowering the appetite instead of burning calories. This study has worked as the first randomized trial on the meal timing.
Meal timing is useful for improving a person’s metabolic health
Organizing meals according to a body’s internal clock can be an effective plan for improving a person’s health. The study shows that meal timing may be useful for many people. As it can help a person to maintain or lose his weight.
Meal timing strategies, like eTRF, can limit a person’s appetite. As a result, it aids people to eat less as compared to their usual routine. Early time-restricted feeding (eTRF) is a type of daily intermittent fasting.
In eTRF, a person will have his dinner in the afternoon. This method has aided people by switching between burning carbohydrates to burning fat as a source of energy. This trait of metabolism is known as metabolic flexibility.
This study involved 11 adult men and women having excess body weight. And it found that meal timing strategies may lead to weight loss in these individuals.
The research team regarded the adults suitable for the study if they have overall good health, BMI between 25 – 30 kg/m2 and an age of 20 – 45 years.
Other conditions included a weight of 68 – 100 kg, and a regular bedtime that was from 09:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. A regular menstrual cycle was also must in case of women.
Early time-restricted feeding may lower a person’s appetite instead of burning calories
The research team divided these adults into two groups in random order. One group tried a control schedule, while the other group tried eTRF strategy.
In the control group, the members had three meals within 12 hours. These adults ate their breakfast at 08:00 a.m. and dinner at 08:00 p.m.
On the contrary, the eTRF group ate their three meals within 6 hours. They had their breakfast at 08:00 a.m. and dinner at 02:00 p.m.
Both groups consumed the same type and quantity of food. The control group involved fasting of 12 hours a day, while eTRF group fasted for 18 hours per day.
The members of the study followed these meal timings in a row for four days. On the last day, the team placed these adults in a respiratory chamber to measure their metabolism. The chamber checked the number of calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates burned.
The team also checked the appetite levels of the members every three hours when they were awake. And they also tested the levels of hunger hormones in the morning and the evening.
The results showed that eTRF did not affect the number of calories burned. But it has lowered the levels of hunger hormone leading to a reduced appetite.
Also, it has increased the amount of fat burned over 24 hours. This study has shown how meal timing strategies can lead to weight loss in an individual.
It also tells that not just the type of food but also the pattern of eating is important for having a healthy weight. Still, it requires further research to check the effects of meal timing on energy and fat metabolism.