Study Finds that the Time When You Eat Throughout the Day Does Not Influence Weight Loss

Study Finds that the Time When You Eat Throughout the Day Does Not Influence Weight Loss

For the longest time, it was believed that timing your meals right throughout the day would do a lot for your weight loss journey.

However, as it turns out, the time you eat is not nearly as important as some weight loss trends seem to suggest.

One of the most popular diets that use this rather faulty logic is intermittent fasting, which involves establishing a strict schedule of alternating eating and fasting, and this often includes time restricted meals.

The idea behind this practice is that by doing this, you can harness the body’s natural rhythms and lose weight as a result.

However, the new study published in the American Heart Association journal suggests that scheduling your meals appears to be irrelevant as far as dropping the pounds is concerned.

The research included 547 participants who used an app to track their meals every day for six months.

The team learned that close to no other factors aside from the size of meals, impacted people’s weight loss progress.

Dr. Wendy Bennett, the study’s co-author, stressed that in spite of the result, more needs to be determined since this is just an observational study, which means the scientists did not control any conditions, such as the number of calories consumed.

Other factors that may skew the results and make them rather unreliable are: the reliance on participants to log their own data, the small sample size, and the use of different scales to determine their weights.

However, associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Dr. Nisa Maruthur, agrees with the results, saying that “If your calories are the same, regardless of when you eat them, there is not an impact on weight.”

At the same time, that is not to say that establishing a schedule for eating is completely useless.

Dr. Maruthur went on to mention that “If you decide you are only eating between 10 am and 4 pm, the fact is that you might eat fewer calories, just because you only fit so many [meals] in that time.”

In other words, while timing meals is generally not a miracle weight loss secret, everyone is different and so, from a behavioral point of view, it may still end up helping some people.

“The best diet for anyone is probably the diet they can follow. If some people find it easier to eat healthier foods because they are planning a bit more, then they should do it,” Dr. Maruthur, who was not involved in the study, concludes.

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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