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article imageMeal timing strategies can lower appetite and aid weight loss

By Tim Sandle     Jul 30, 2019 in Health
New research finds that meal timing strategies can help with weight loss by lowering appetite. Selective timing of meal times can also help to improve fat burning.
Scientists have found that meal timing strategies, like intermittent fasting or eating earlier in the daytime, can significantly aid people who desire to lose weight. The combined effect is through lowering appetite (as an alternative to burning more calories). The research demonstrates how meal timing can influence a 24-hour energy metabolism when food intake and meal frequency are synchronized.
The most notable finding related to metabolic flexibility, in particular Early Time-Restricted Feeding (eTRF). This is a type of daily intermittent fasting which involves consuming dinner in the afternoon and then not eating until breakfast the following morning. This approach has, the researchers find, assisted in improving people's ability to alter between burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat for energy. This approach reduces fat deposits and thereby helps to reduce weight.
This was based on running controlled experiments with eleven adult men and women who were medically assessed as carrying excess weight. The participants were subjected to two different meal timing strategies. The first was the control, and it involved eating three meals during a twelve hour period, starting with breakfast at 8:00 a.m. and dinner at 8:00 p.m. This was followed by the eTRF schedule, where the subjects consumed three meals over a six-hour period, starting with breakfast at 8:00 a.m. but ending with dinner at 2:00 p.m.
Experimental data revealed that the eTRF strategy lowered levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and it increased fat-burning over the course of a 24-hour day.
The significance of the study is in showing how meal timing affects a 24-hour energy metabolism, provided that food intake and meal frequency are evenly matched. This leads principal scientist Dr. Eric Ravussin to write: "Coordinating meals with circadian rhythms, or your body's internal clock, may be a powerful strategy for reducing appetite and improving metabolic health."
He follows on by stating: "We suspect that a majority of people may find meal timing strategies helpful for losing weight or to maintain their weight since these strategies naturally appear to curb appetite, which may help people eat less."
The research has been published in the journal Obesity. The research is titled "Early Time‐Restricted Feeding Reduces Appetite and Increases Fat Oxidation But Does Not Affect Energy Expenditure in Humans."
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