Research shows that eating later in the day can directly impact biological weight regulation in three main ways: our hunger levels. And how our bodies store fat.
Obesity is now affecting hundreds of millions of people This is a valuable insight that suggests you can lower your risk of becoming obese in a relatively simple way by simply eating your meals a few hours earlier.
previous research A link between meal timing and weight gain had already been identified, but now researchers wanted to examine the link more closely and uncover the biological reasons behind it.
“We wanted to test the mechanisms that could explain why eating late increases the risk of obesity.” Neuroscientist Frank Scheer said:from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in 2022, when the study was published.
“Previous studies by us and other researchers have shown that late eating is associated with increased risk of obesity, increased body fat, and impaired weight loss success. We find out why I wanted to understand that.”
The study was tightly controlled and involved 16 participants whose body mass index (BMI) was in the overweight or obese range.
Each volunteer underwent two different experiments lasting six days, with their sleep and diet strictly controlled beforehand and several weeks between each test.
In one experiment, participants adhered to a strict schedule of eating three meals a day at regular times: breakfast at 9 a.m., lunch at 1 p.m., and dinner around 6 p.m.
Another was that three meals were moved back: lunch, dinner, and evening meal (first meal around 1pm, last meal around 9pm).
Through blood samples, survey questions, and other measurements, the team was able to make many observations.
The study showed that when meals were eaten later, levels of the hormone leptin, which signals satiety, decreased over a 24-hour period, meaning participants may have felt hungrier. Additionally, you burned calories at a slower rate.
This test determines gene expression in adipose tissue, which influences how the body stores fat. adipogenesis The process of building adipose tissue is reduced, lipolysis The process of breaking down fat.
Here, we focus on the combination of physiological and molecular mechanisms that drive obesity risk.
“We isolated these effects by controlling for confounding variables such as caloric intake, physical activity, sleep, and light exposure. However, in real life, many of these factors are itself can be influenced by the timing of meals.” Scheer said..
Of course, obesity can lead to other health problems such as diabetes and cancer, so finding ways to stop obesity from developing in the first place would make a huge difference to the health of the world’s population.
This study shows that eating early in the day can influence three key factors that regulate our body’s energy balance and later obesity risk. . And this change is probably easier for some people to manage than sticking to a diet and exercise regimen.
In the future, the research team hopes to conduct studies with more women (in this case, only five of the 16 volunteers were women) and how changes in bedtimes relative to mealtimes affect these processes. We would also like to consider research that analyzes whether
“Large-scale studies, where it is impossible to tightly control all these factors, should at least consider how other behavioral and environmental variables alter these biological pathways that underlie obesity risk.” need to do it.” Scheer said..
This study cell metabolism.
A version of this article was first published in October 2022.