A team of researchers from the Harvard University has carried out a study to demonstrate the reasons why meal times influence a person’s body weight and has managed to show that eating at a later time causes fewer calories to be burned, increases hunger and causes tissue changes adipose.
How was the study
To conduct this study, researchers asked a group of overweight or obese people to try two schedules of different foods with the same diet during six days in a row. The first schedule consisted of eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, finishing the last meal six and a half hours before bed. On the other hand, at the other time, breakfast and lunch took place four hours later and dinner, that is, the last meal, two and a half hours before going to bed.
In both tests, participants reported their appetite levels, blood tests were performed, and body temperature and energy expenditure were measured. To measure how mealtime affected the way the body stores fat, the researchers collected biopsies of fat tissue.
At the end of the study, they found that eating later increased the participants’ hunger, favored fat storage, and decreased the number of calories burned. All these effects over time cause weight gain.
“When meals are delayed by four hours and everything else remains the same, you burn fewer calories, have a greater drive for food, and experience changes in fat tissue that would promote weight gain,” he explains. Frank Scheerstudy author.
Thanks to this study, researchers have concluded that eating dinner at a late hour triggers a series of physiological and molecular mechanisms that increase the risk of obesity. In addition, calories are burned at a slower rate and levels of the hormone leptin, which signals satiety, are reduced.
The ideal time for dinner if you do not want to gain weight
According to what this study deduces, it is necessary to have eating habits with early hours, with a light dinner a few six hours before bedas it increases leptin levels, the satiety hormone, which helps reduce caloric intake.