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Eat in time with your body clock to lose weight

Filed in
  • Diet
  • Weight

By Kate Robards  |  Jun 09, 2020
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Body Clock Eating

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be familiar with diets that restrict what you eat. But what if simply changing when you eat meals could lead to weight loss?

Research from the University of California, San Diego’s School of Medicine suggests that time-restricted eating could help you lose weight and get better sleep. A recent study limited food consumption to a consistent, daily eating window of 10 hours. For example, if participants ate breakfast each day at 7 a.m., then they would eat their final meal of the day by 5 p.m. each evening.

The study was small, with just 19 participants. However, the results show that there were several benefits of this 10-hour, time-restricted eating.

Many of the participants lost weight and reduced their abdominal fat. Overall, participants had a 3% reduction in weight over a three-month period. Participants also reported having improved sleep quality and more energy.

Similarly, a study of dieters in Spain found that those who ate their main meal before 3 p.m. lost more weight than those who ate later in the day. On average, the early eaters lost five pounds more than the late eaters.

Why would the timing of when we eat matter when trying to lose weight? Researchers suggest that our body clocks may play an important role.

Timing meals with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle may help align the body’s complex systems that regulate weight.

Of course, it’s still important to consider what you’re eating when trying to lose weight. Yet these studies suggest that respecting your internal clock could help your body better process the food you consume.

Reviewed by Lawrence Epstein, MD

1 Comment

  1. 1 Russell Booth 23 Jul
    Dear Dr. Epstein, I have always dealt with being overweight for most of my life. I discovered quite by mistake that eating a regular meal once per day before 5pm and no snacking after that time has lead to a significant weight loss. At my heaviest I weighed 268 pounds at 5'7". Over the years I was able to shed weight to 230lb. I am much older and much less active now at 75 years old. I began eating one satisfying meal per day before 5pm and remarkably since March/2020 my weight is 185lb. My waist size has reduced from size 44 to size 40 pants and from 2x shirts to XL and I may be using pant size 38 soon. I'm amazed at this finding. Yours Truly, Russ Booth