Does Meal Timing Effect Weight Gain/Fat Metabolism?

New research presented June 4 at the 31st  annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS) concluded eating late at night (Prolonged delayed eating) -can increase weight, insulin and cholesterol levels, and negatively affect fat mertabolism, and hormonal markers implicated in heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems.”

In the study, nine healthy weight adults  were subjected to two conditions. In the first called daytime eating , they ate 3 meals and two snacks between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. for eight weeks. This was followed by delayed eating of three meals a day and two snacks eaten between noon and 11 p.m., for eight weeks. There was a 2 week rest period between the two experimental periods, Metabolic measures were given and blood was drawn at the beginning, after the first eating program, after the two week rest period, and after the second eating period. These allowed researchers to measure weight change, metabolic and energy use and make sure the two week rest allowed all measures to return to baseline before the next program.

Results showed that when subjects ate later, compared to the daytime program, weight increase. In addition, the respiratory quotient (ratio of carbon dioxide produced by the body to oxygen consumed that indicated which micro nutrients are being metabolized) also rose during delayed eating. This showed that later eating led to metabolizing fewer lipids and more carbs. Other measures reflecting negative metabolic profiles increase in the delayed group  included insulin, fasting  glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Hormone profiles also showed that eating during the daytime the hormone ghrelin, that stimulates appetite, peaked earlier in the daytime, and leptin, that keeps you satiated peaked later suggesting  subjects receive4d cues to eat early and that eating earlier likely helped them to stay satiated longer. Researchers said “Whille lifestyle change is never easy, these findings suggest that eating earlier in the day may be worth the effort to help prevent these detrimental chronic health effects.”

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