LivingIf you want to lose weight, advance your meals

If you want to lose weight, advance your meals

A team of scientists from the University of Surrey (United Kingdom) has carried out a preliminary study to study how changes in the timing of meals affect daily calorie intake and some health indicators such as cardiovascular risk or diabetes .

To do this, the participants were divided into two groups: some advanced their breakfast and dinner hours by 90 minutes, and the rest kept their schedules. Unlike other similar studies, the novelty here was that a specific type of diet was not imposed, and the volunteers had to follow their normal diet. In this way, it was also possible to study how schedules affected appetite and calorie intake.

One of the most striking results was that the participants who advanced their meals lost, on average, more than twice as much body fat as the control group. Although this is very preliminary data, the authors are confident that if the trial can be replicated in larger groups, it could be concluded that what they call a “time-restricted diet” may have many health benefits.

Why is this such a big difference? People who advanced their schedules ended up eating less: 57% of the participants indicated that they had reduced their caloric intake, mainly because they came to meals with less appetite and that they snacked less between meals, especially in the afternoons.

Another possibility, although it is only a hypothesis, is that doing a longer overnight fast period has been another factor that contributes to the reduction of body fat. Similar studies had already explored this idea. A study – although carried out with flies and not in humans – at the University of San Diego found that 12-hour overnight fasts protect the heart against aging, and another work carried out at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (California), concluded that always eating at the same time reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes.

 

Reconciliation problems

Now, is such a radical change in meal times feasible? More than half of the participants in the study confessed that it would be impossible for them to maintain these schedules beyond the ten weeks that the trial lasted , because they are incompatible with their personal and family life. In the case of Spain, many groups claim the need to follow a ‘more European’ schedule. We eat and have dinner very late, which causes us to go to bed later, or to do it with a full gut, both very unhealthy.

“Although this study is small, it has provided us with very valuable information on how slight alterations in our meal times can be very beneficial for the body. Reducing body fat limits the risk of developing obesity and related diseases, so it is vital to improve our overall health , “said Jonathan Johnston, one of the authors.” However, we have found that these guidelines are difficult to follow and are not always compatible with family and social life. Therefore, we must ensure that they are flexible and conducive to real life. “

The study has been published in the Journal of Nutritional Sciences.

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