Sleep Education

American Academy of Sleep Medicine 

Find a Center
Use the following fields to locate sleep centers in your area.

Search radius:

Eat in time with your body clock to lose weight

Filed in
  • Diet
  • Weight

By Kate Robards  |  Jun 09, 2020
Email   Print

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