A recent study released in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that eating the majority of your daily caloric intake before 3 p.m. will benefit in weight loss efforts.
Results of the 5 month study indicate that “dieters who ate the their main meal before 3 p.m. lost significantly more weight than those who ate later in the day". The 5 month study which consisted of overweight and obese individuals was conducted in the Spanish city of Murcia, located on the country's Mediterranean coast. The average age of volunteers in the study was 42. Additionally, the average weight lost,by individuals who ate the majority of their calories in the morning was 22 lbs on average compared to 17 lbs for individuals eating later in the day. It is important to note the differing eating habits between cultures. In Spain, the average non-dieting individual consumes an average of 1,400 calories per day compared to the average non-dieting American who consumes 2,700 calories per day.
What does this study mean for the average person? Study author Frank Scheer, Director of the Chronobiology Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston states “it's not just what we eat but when we eat is important”. Sheer elaborates “When the timing of meals do not match with the sleep-wake cycle well, there's a disconnect between the different clocks that we have in basically all the cells of our body.” Consequently, when the times don't match up, how the body metabolizes food may be altered. This may help to solidify the theory that its not just what you eat, but when you eat that affects your body.