How we balance weight gain and weight loss is predominantly due to what we eat, how much we eat and by how much we exercise. However, another important factor is often looked over. It isn’t just about how many calories we consume, but when we eat them that will determine how well we will burn those calories.
In a study by Researchers at the Vanderbilt University, the metabolism of mid aged and older participants was monitored in a whole room respiratory chamber over two 56 hour sessions using a random crossover experimental design.
In both sessions, lunch and dinner were served at the same times (12:30 and 5:45 respectively), but the timing of the third meal differed between the two halves of the study. In one of the 56 hour time frames the additional meal was served as breakfast at 8:00 a.m. In the other session a nutritionally equivalentt meal was served as a late evening snack at 7:00 p.m. The length of the overnight fast was the same for the two sessions.
Although the two sessions did not differ in the type or amount of food eaten or in the participant’s activity levels, the daily timing of nutrient availability along with clock/sleep control of metabolism, flipped a switch in the participant’s fat/carbohydrate preference such that the late evening snack meal resulted in less fat burned when compared to the morning session.
The results indicate the timing of meals during the day and night cycle affect the extent to which consumed food is used versus being stored. The study has important implications in regards to eating habits suggesting that daily fast between an evening meal and breakfast will maximize weight management.
To view the original scientific study click below