A new study has revealed that avoiding late night snack intake and eating proper breakfast will help in fat loss, shaping the body.
It involves fasting for a fixed period of the day and then consuming all calories in the remaining hours.
According to researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, it is not only the number of calories that a person consumes that may influence weight gain but also when the person consumes them.
Research findings relate to the biological clock, which scientists refer to as circadian rhythms.
The internal body clock modulates hundreds of processes, from sleeping and eating to body temperature and hormone levels. Research has associated a disrupted circadian rhythm, such as that affecting shift workers, with adverse health effects, including obesity.
These health effects may be due to disturbed eating patterns, which suggests that the timing of food consumption mediates its effects on the body.
To test, the researchers monitored the metabolism of six people when they ate meals at different times of the day.
The participants were all aged 50 years or above. They each ate three meals per day over two separate 56-hour sessions, both with the same overnight fasting period.
In one of the sessions, the participants ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the other session, the participants skipped breakfast but received an extra meal as a late evening snack.
The breakfast (at 8:00 a.m.) and the late evening snack (at 10:00 p.m.) both contained 700 calories and were nutritionally equivalent.
The amount of physical activity that the participants did was also the same in both sessions.
The researchers monitored the participants’ metabolism using Vanderbilt’s human metabolic chamber to give them continual measurements of metabolic rate and the carbohydrates and fat loss.
The researchers found that, despite having a consistent calorie intake and activity level, the timing of food intake had a significant effect on how much fat the participants burned.
When the participants ate a late night snack, they broke down less fat than when they consumed the same number of calories at breakfast.
“This confirms that the timing of meals during the daytime and nighttime cycle affects how ingested food used versus stored, and that any food ingested prior to bedtime will delay the burning of fat during sleep,”