Eating earlier in the day burns more calories, according to new study

I’m interested in these stories about sleeping, eating and exercise because I’m constantly trying to evaluate and upgrade my habits. The news about this latest study feels personally validating to me – eating earlier in the day was associated with a greater calorie burn and lower rates of cholesterol and blood sugar than eating later in the day. This study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism, which had a related study about how eating in a ten hour window was beneficial.

Eating earlier in the day may help you lose weight, and eating meals within a 10-hour window could improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels, according to two new studies published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

“You have this internal biological clock that makes you better at doing different things at different times of the day,” Courtney Peterson, PhD, an associate professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told NBC News. Peterson wasn’t involved with the studies.

“It seems like the best time for your metabolism, in most people, is the mid- to late morning,” she said.

In one study, researchers found that eating later in the day made people hungrier during a 24-hour period, as compared with eating the same meals earlier in the day. Late eating also burned calories at a slower rate and led to fat tissue that stored more calories. Combined, the changes may increase the risk for obesity, the study authors found.

In another study, among firefighters as shift workers, researchers found that eating meals within a 10-hour window decreased the size of bad cholesterol particles, which could reduce risk factors for heart disease. The 10-hour eating window also improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels among those with health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

The two new studies confirm findings from previous studies that indicate humans may have an ideal eating window based on the body’s circadian rhythms, which regulate sleep and wake cycles and can affect appetite, metabolism, and blood sugar levels.

[From Medscape]

I try to eat in a twelve hour window, but I could move it to ten hours if I ate breakfast later. It sounds like the key is eating dinner early though and stopping. As someone who eats dinner around 4 pm, I love this news. Kaiser also eats around then and told me that it feels better than eating later. She’s right, I have trouble sleeping if I eat a big meal after about 7 or snack too much late in the night. I wake up very early, typically before 5am, and go to bed around 9 or 10.

Yahoo also covered these studies and they report that there were two groups of people in the eating timing study, which was small with 16 participants total. Half of the people ate at 9, 1 and 5 and the other half ate at 1, 5, and 9. The people in the late eating group ended up burning less calories and had more food cravings. This reminds me that I need to eat breakfast now! I’m also going to plan to stop eating after dinner tonight and see if it makes a difference. Bring on the early bird specials.

Photos credit: Cottonbro, Outcast India, Alex Haney on Unsplash and Tony Schnagl on Pexels

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9 Responses to “Eating earlier in the day burns more calories, according to new study”

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  1. Andrea says:

    I like to sleep between 1am and 9am, so I skip breakfast and have lunch, dinner and snacks inbetween. I usually eat lunch at 12pm and dinner at 730pm. One snack after dinner only. It works for me. I cannot eat 3 hours before bed or I feel bloated with heartburn.

  2. Emmi says:

    I think anyone who has issues with getting their eating habits/times right or feeling like they can’t be consistent should – if they can – do a check up at their doctor’s. Here insurance pays for bi-annual check-ups (blood etc.) once you turn 35. I thought I was healthy, if a bit chubby. Well turns out I had a serious Vit D deficiency and hypothyroidism. Once all of that was treated, I stopped snacking, I stopped craving sugar, and I feel more balanced overall. My mood has improved. I also can’t do intermittent fasting anymore because I get super hungry in the morning but that’s fine. Haven’t gained any weight.

  3. Becks1 says:

    I can believe this just because I tend to be more active in the mornings. As the day goes on (particularly after dinner,. which at our house is anywhere from 430 to 630), I become more and more sedentary, and from 7 or 8 on I’m basically on the couch for a few hours – whether reading, watching TV, on my phone or laptop, etc. So I wonder how much that activity level plays a part.

  4. DouchesOfCambridge says:

    my everyday rule is, I eat when I’m hungry. No diets, no schedule, no fasting.My preference is to have a coffee with milk no sugar in the morning. Im not hungry at that time. I’m hungry at about 2-3pm and/or dinner time 6/8pm. I love veggies, fruits, fish, and bits of meat, homemade desserts: I eat what I love. Everything homemade 90% of the time. It feels like a natural clock and not living by a rulebook.

  5. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    One again, bad news for night owls. I work 1.30-10 pm, so my supper is usually at 10.30 or 11.

    • Denise says:

      Yes! I would love to eat dinner before 7PM but I’m at work and my meal break is usually at 9PM. I wish they would give advice for 2nd shift or overnight workers too on how to make the best time choices because if I stop eating at 5 PM then I’m going to be hungry at work.

    • Denise says:

      Also, what about people who work 2 jobs? They need the energy that food provides. The older I get the more I realize how working a “9-5” is a privilege.

  6. Eleanor says:

    When I stick to this window I feel better and my weight is stable. I know the metabolism studies have been around for a while, thanks to all the fasting diets.
    I snack far less and am more conscious about what I eat for dinner. It is easier (for me) during the winter months.
    It’s more about planning than anything else.

  7. Dashen’ka says:

    Why we must be assaulted by diet culture here? ??